All new and expectant mothers will be able to access specialist mental health services within a year, NHS England has announced.
The healthcare organisation has announced today that it is spending £23 million to roll out a range of community perinatal services, which will be available in every part of the country from by April 2019.
The specialist teams will offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or server mental health problems during the perinatal period.
They will also be able to provide pre-conception advice for women with current or previous mental health issues, who are planning a pregnancy.
The teams will consist of doctors, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists, among others.
According to NHS England, one in five women will experience a mental health problem during their pregnancy and in the first year after birth, with depression and anxiety disorders being the most common.
As well as being crucial to new mothers, newborns and their families, perinatal services, alongside other treatments for common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, can play an important role in ensuring mental health is integrated into overall healthcare at the earliest possible stage of life.
NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, Claire Murdoch, said mental health “doesn’t discriminate”.
“It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why we are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves,” said Ms Murdoch.
“Women with lived in experience can play a pivotal role when it comes to shaping the services for others and influencing how we plan and deliver care effectively as possible. What we are now starting to see is evidence based NHS services growing in parts of the country where there used to be limited or no provision at all.
“Thanks to a continuing investment in services and a concerted effort from dedicated staff up and down the country, we are making huge strides forward and sooner rather than later we will turn England’s specialist perinatal mental health map green,” she added.
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