All four nations in the UK have achieved fantastic progress. Each nation has made commitments to address the undeniable gaps that exist in specialist perinatal mental health (PMH) services, leading to increased levels of funding. This investment has resulted in an expansion of these essential services, which is transforming the lives of women and birthing people, babies, and families.
However, there are still significant challenges to be addressed.
The recommendations listed below are drawn from the learnings captured while gathering mapping and funding data. These we hope will continue to make the urgent case for specialist services.
Make it easier to understand how much money is being spent on PMH services in each local area with more accessible data and transparent mechanisms.
Develop a robust and sustained workforce plan that is backed by adequate investment.
Improve understanding of those women whose needs are less well met by existing services and take action so care is equitable for all families.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists' quality standards for community teams should be ambitious and relevant across the UK.
The voices of women and family members need to be heard to help services and the wider system better understand what quality care looks like.
At the national and local level, ongoing commitment is needed so there are sufficient funds and resources available to plan and deliver specialist PMH services across the UK.
Develop effective processes to collect data, including monitoring across equality groups to identify inequalities. Make more data publicly available, so it is clearer where progress is being made and what gaps remain.
Ensure women and families receive comprehensive PMH care across the clinical pathway, with clear communication between professionals and the integration of services.
All health services in contact with women during the perinatal period should have a trauma-informed approach, with care designed to meet the individual needs of women and their families.
These recommendations go beyond specialist PMH services alone. The MMHA's aim is to think about the wider conditions and systems that can make positive change, transform the approach to care and help ensure women and birthing people, babies and families can access the right mental health care at the right time.Find out more