New mothers can now access mental health support where they live – NHS England

New and expectant mothers across the country are now able to access specialist mental health care closer to home, NHS England has said.

Perinatal community services have been rolled out to every one of the 44 local NHS areas, following a pledge made by health bosses in May last year.

Women with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems did not have access to this type of care in around two in five parts of the country five years ago, according to NHS England.

An estimated one in four women will experience poor mental health during pregnancy or in the two years that follow.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Having a baby can be one of the best moments of your life.

“But the pressure is huge and new parents, especially those struggling with their mental health, can be left too afraid or isolated to speak up.

“I don’t want any new or expectant mother to be left to suffer in silence, and so I’m determined to ensure that all women can access specialist mental health care, no matter where they live.

“This Government has committed to transforming perinatal mental health services and today’s announcement takes us one step closer to making sure no mother slips through the net.”

Claire Murdoch, NHS England national mental health director, said: “Mental ill health during pregnancy or that affects bonding with a new baby can be devastating, which is why the NHS has invested in better care for expectant and new mums, with at least 9,000 extra women getting treatment last year.

“As well as expanding access to world-leading talking therapy for anyone who needs it, the NHS long-term plan is further ramping up specialist perinatal care for every part of the country, offering tailored support to dads and partners and extending care to cover the first two years of a child’s life.”

Dr Trudi Seneviratne, chairwoman of the perinatal faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “A previous lack of specialist services has not only meant that some women couldn’t access the treatment they needed, but it also led to mothers and babies often being separated at a key time in their child’s development.

“Providing everyone with access to the right care in the right place has always been our hope, and it’s now finally being realised in England.”