Local community funding announced for perinatal mental health services

NHS England has announced that 20 areas across England are to receive a collective total of £40m for the development of specialist community perinatal mental health services.  It is anticipated that 30,000 more women experiencing mental health difficulties during pregnancy and early parenthood will be supported by 2021 as a result.

A further £20m will be allocated to other areas next year.

The funding for new mums will see new or bigger teams in those areas providing specialist care for all new and expectant mums with severe mental ill health like severe post-natal depression.

It will fund new perinatal consultants, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and nursery nurses as well as community peer support for mums, babies and families. There will also be more buddying and telephone support where mums who have had experience of similar issues help other mums in need.

Perinatal Community Mental Health Services provide specialist care for women with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or psychosis while pregnant or after birth responding quickly if they become ill, and helping minimise risks to mum and baby by for example giving medication advice, providing lifestyle advice or counselling support or following an inpatient stay promoting hope and recovery.

They also see and treat women who have been iden­tified as at high risk of developing serious illness both at home and in the maternity unit during pregnancy and after delivery as well as pre-conception counselling.

NHS England is also commissioning four new mother and baby units (MBUs).

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive said: “For most parents having a baby is one of the happiest times of your life. But for tens of thousands of new mums, this experience is sadly overshadowed by severe pregnancy-related mental health problems. Now the NHS is taking concrete action to get these mothers and families the specialist mental health support they need.

One in five women experience depression, anxiety or in some cases psychosis during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth and costs of perinatal mental ill health are estimated at £8.1 billion each year in the UK, almost £10,000 per birth.

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said: “Patients in crisis, and expectant and new mothers who are suffering from severe mental health problems need urgent support and care.

“So this investment is fantastic news and will help make sure patients get the care they need, when they need it. As the Prime Minister has made clear, this Government is determined to address the struggles faced by people with mental ill health.”

The full list of successful perinatal schemes is below and all areas will expand or introduce new staffing at different levels.

Bristol CCG, for example will work in partnership across three CCGs to expand a recently established small team into a wider area, introduce new electronic records across different organisations’ systems, and develop community support groups to help mums as well as buddying and telephone support from women who have experienced similar issues.

Nottingham City CCG will work across seven CCGs to expand the current service aiming to reduce waiting times for mums, introduce outreach work, and more training for other professionals to support early detection and intervention.

And South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust will aim to expand the current service offering it to more women in the area with reduced waiting times. They will also improve the education on offer to health professionals and the public in this area aiming to reduce stigma and support early diagnosis and integrated care.

For those areas working with the new funds, do utilise the forums on this website to assist in sharing of ideas and resources as servcies develop.  More money being allocated next year means others areas could benefit from the learning and support even more women in need.

Lead organisation
1. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
2. Birmingham South Central CCG
3. Bradford & Airedale District Care NHS Foundation Trust
4. Bristol CCG
5. Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
6. Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
7. Cornwall STP
8. Gloucestershire CCG
9. Herts Valleys CCG
10. North East Essex CCG
11. Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
12. New Devon CCG and South Devon and Torbay CCG
13. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
14. Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust
15. Nottingham City CCG
16. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
17. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
18. South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
19. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
20. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

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