The NHS in North West London has been awarded £600,000 by NHS England to increase mental health support for new and expectant mums over the next year.
The money means that more women in the boroughs of Brent and Harrow will have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy. In Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hounslow the funding means that women’s that care will extend to 12 months after giving birth instead of the current six months which is in line with national guidance.
This work follows on from a new service launched last year to provide mental health care for women who are at risk of, or develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first year after birth, and also offering pre-conception advice to women who already have a mental health condition.
We are delighted to have received this funding which will enable more women in these areas to access appropriate specialist treatment and support. It will also ensure that there is equal provision of these services across North West London.
Mums and families will benefit from this funding through:
- Support that is easily accessible and closer to home
- increased access to specialist community services
- improved care in inpatient mother and baby units
- the development of resources and information for fathers to help them to look after their own mental health and support their partners.
Dr Annabel Crowe, Mental Health Clinical Director for the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “This is very good news. It is one of our priorities over the next few years to make it easier for children, young people and their families to access mental health support, it is really important to intervene as early as possible. The funding will go a long way to help us support women and families that need our help at such a vulnerable time.”
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 (defined as those occurring during pregnancy and in the first year after childbirth), alongside treatments for common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, can play an important role in ensuring mental health is a part of overall healthcare at the earliest possible stage of life.
This news comes just in time for Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) where we are focusing on tackling problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. Acknowledging that you need help is the first step. You can access these services via referral from your GP.
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