Making maternal mental health Everyone’s Business
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Everyone’s Business campaign calls for all women throughout the UK who experience a perinatal mental illness to receive the specialist care and support they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.
More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby. If untreated, these perinatal mental illnesses can have a devastating impact on the women affected and their families.
In the UK, mental illness in pregnant and postnatal women too often goes unrecognised, undiagnosed and untreated.
Sustained and coordinated campaigning efforts of MMHA members, supporters, experts by experience, and passionate clinicians have led to some significant improvement in specialist perinatal mental health community service provision, as our maps show. However, it remains patchy, especially in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and women and their families still face a tragic postcode lottery.
Why the focus on specialist perinatal mental health services?
The term ‘specialist perinatal mental health services’ refers to both specialist perinatal mental health community teams, as well as inpatient mother and baby units where mum and baby are cared for together when hospitalisation is required. There are clear national guidelines setting out that specialist services for women who meet the need threshold are vital.
Specialist perinatal mental health services save lives. The teams:
- Act as a catalyst for change across the whole pathway, including for women who do not meet the need threshold for referral
- Identify gaps in other parts of the care pathway, including for women with mild to moderate perinatal mental health problems, and advocate for them to be addressed
- Share expertise with and deliver training to a range of health and social care professionals, including GPs, health visitors and midwives.
Let’s Turn the Map Green together as a crucial first step to ensuring all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.