Counting the costs

The costs of not treating perinatal mental illnesses effectively are significant.

Untreated perinatal mental illnesses have a wide range of effects on the mental and physical health of women, their children, partners and significant others, meaning insufficient support is a major public health concern

They are also one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and the year after birth.

The costs of undiagnosed or untreated perinatal mental health problems include:

avoidable suffering

perinatal mental illness can cause intense, debilitating, isolating and often frightening suffering for women.

damage to families

perinatal mental illness can have a long-term impact on a woman’s self-esteem and relationships with partners and family members.

impact on children

perinatal mental health problems can have an adverse impact on the interaction between a mother and her baby, affecting the child’s emotional, social and cognitive development.

death or serious injury

in severe cases, perinatal mental illness can be life-threatening: suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women in the UK during the perinatal period.

economic costs

the economic cost to society of not effectively treating perinatal mental illness far outweighs the cost of providing appropriate services. Read the October 2014 report  The Costs of Perinatal Mental Health Problems’ by the London School of Economics and the Centre for Mental Health.

If perinatal mental health problems were identified and treated quickly and effectively, all of these serious and often life-changing human and economic costs could be minimised.