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Work continues to improve mental health services for new and expectant mums

Mental health services for new and expectant mums in the Humber region and parts of Yorkshire are continuing to be developed courtesy of NHS funding worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

Having secured a share of a £23 million nationwide investment announced by NHS England in 2018, the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership - a collaboration of 28 health and social care organisations - is working to deliver specialist community perinatal mental health services in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Scarborough and Ryedale, and the Vale of York.

The funding is part of a £365 million plan by NHS England to ensure 30,000 more women in all areas of England can access specialist perinatal services by 2021.

Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or during the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects one in five (20%) women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family.

Examples of perinatal mental health conditions include:

  • Moderate to severe postnatal depression
  • Anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Severe mental illnesses including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar affective disorder
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Severe self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts

Late last year, pre-existing perinatal services began to be developed further, while new ones were created to ensure women in all parts of the Humber, Coast and Vale area who experience complex mental health needs have access to treatments and support as early as possible. Providing support for families and signposting to relevant services has also been part of the service improvements.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has strengthened its already established specialist community perinatal mental health services in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. The Trust is also working with NAViGO and Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust to introduce a new service in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.  

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is also introducing new specialist community perinatal mental health services across the Vale of York and Scarborough and Ryedale.

Michele Moran, Chair of the Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership Board and Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, said: “So many new and expectant mothers experience mental health problems and we’re proud to work with our partners to extend the perinatal service into underserved areas and hopefully help hundreds of women and their families.”

Michelle Thompson, Perinatal Mental Health Lead for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership and Assistant Director for Women’s and Children’s Services for North East Lincolnshire CCG, said: “Having a baby is a major life event for mums and dads, and it's natural to experience a whole range of emotions and reactions during and after pregnancy.

“But if these problems start to have a big impact on day to day life, it might be a sign of a mental health problem and this service will provide some much needed specialist support for local families who are experiencing difficulties during or after the birth of their child.”

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about might be experiencing perinatal mental health problems you can speak to health professionals involved in your care, such as your GP, midwife or health visitor, who will be able to offer support and refer you to an appropriate service.

For more information, please visit the following websites:

For Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire patients: https://www.humber.nhs.uk/services/perinatal-mental-health.htm

For Vale of York and Scarborough and Ryedale patients: https://www.tewv.nhs.uk/services/north-yorkshire-and-york-perinatal-mental-health-service/

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