The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s campaign – Everyone’s Business – calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
To make sure women receive the perinatal mental health care they need, we must ensure the following:
- Accountability for perinatal mental health care is clearly set at a national level and complied with.
- Community specialist perinatal mental health services meeting national quality standards are available for women in every area of the UK.
- Training in perinatal mental health is delivered to all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and the first year after birth.
By 2016, accountability and action plans for UK perinatal mental health care must be formally clarified within national NHS mandates and included in the portfolio of a named minister in each of the UK’s four nations. By 2015, a national strategy that addresses the shortfall of beds in specialist inpatient mother and baby units must be established. This should lead to the halving of the shortfall by 2016 and a closure of this gap by 2020. Perinatal mental health is not an identified ministerial responsibility at present, and is not supported by an overarching strategy. Currently, there is an estimated shortfall of 60 specialist inpatient mother and baby unit beds (and accompanying staff) across the UK. In Wales and Northern Ireland, there is not a single one. National strategies are required to rectify this shortfall.
A – Accountability for perinatal mental health care is clearly set at a national level and complied with.
Perinatal mental health is not an identified ministerial responsibility at present, and is not supported by a national strategy. Currently, there is an estimated shortfall of 60 specialist inpatient mother and baby unit beds across the UK, which is where a woman with a severe perinatal mental illness at risk of harming herself or others would receive support. In Wales and Northern Ireland, there is none. National strategies need to rectify this shortfall now.
C – Community specialist perinatal mental health teams meeting national quality standards should be available for women in every area of the UK. By 2016, 25% more women and families in the UK must have access to community specialist perinatal mental health teams.2 These teams must meet UK national quality standards. By 2020, all women and their families in the UK must have access. In almost half of the UK, women have no access to community specialist perinatal mental health service provision. Not all of the services that do exist meet national quality standards. Many areas of the UK do not have local plans or strategies in place to ensure that NHS perinatal mental health services are available to local women and families, despite the development of comprehensive models that show these specialist services are necessary and possible.
T Training in perinatal mental health care should be delivered to all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and the first year after birth. By 2016, and in all of the UK’s four nations, perinatal mental health training must be incorporated into the undergraduate and postgraduate syllabuses for all GPs, health visitors, midwives, (practice) nurses, obstetricians and mental health professionals. By 2020, national training strategies must be established to ensure all relevant existing health and social care professionals who have contact with women during the perinatal period have access to dedicated high-quality training. This includes people who work in the community and voluntary sectors. Scotland is the only UK nation that has a perinatal mental health training curriculum for people working in the health services. A similar curriculum across all UK nations would help to guide the development and coordination of the training that’s needed. This includes the setting of training standards by professional bodies and the development of appropriate training packages.
2013 – 2016