What are specialist perinatal mental health (PMH) services?
‘Specialist perinatal mental health (PMH) services’ provide life-saving care to women and families impacted by severe or complex mental health problems during and after pregnancy. Services include:
The importance of specialist PMH services
There are clear UK guidelines setting out that specialist services for women who meet the threshold are vital. As well as providing life-saving care, specialist PMH services also:
- 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 so-called mild to moderate PMH 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.
Mapping specialist PMH services in the UK
What do the latest maps tell us about the provision of specialist PMH community teams in the UK?
Each nation has made a clear commitment to addressing gaps in specialist PMH care for new and expectant mothers, leading to increased levels of provision across the UK. Though the progress is fantastic, it has been uneven and there is still a postcode lottery. See the full 2023 briefing, including detailed area maps and analysis, or download a summary of our findings (also available in Welsh).
No specialist team exists
Some basic level of provision exists but currently falls short of UK standards and needs expanding
Green (NI, Scotland and Wales) and hatched areas (England)
Women and families can access treatment that meets the minimum UK standards
Green (England only)
Women and families can access treatment that meets the minimum UK standards and NHS Long Term Plan ambitions are being delivered
Let’s turn the map green for women, babies, and families across the UK!
Mother and Baby Units (MBUs)