Former MP Luciana Berger has been appointed as the new Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and will take up her role at the start of next month.
Founded in 2011, MMHA is a coalition of 97 organisations, clinicians, and people with lived experience working together to improve mental health support during pregnancy and postnatally. MMHA has successfully campaigned to address gaps in UK specialist perinatal mental health care. However, despite significant progress, more work is needed to tackle the postcode lottery for mothers, partners, and babies.
After a delay due to COVID-19, NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) have now launched an expression of interest process to develop and test Maternal Mental Health Services (formerly referred to as ‘Maternity Outreach Clinics’ in NHSE’s Long Term Plan) in 2020/21 and 2021/22.
This supports the delivery of the ambition in the Long Term Plan to establish Maternal Mental Health Services, which will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to the maternity experience.
Sustainability and transformation partnership (STPs), Integrated Care Systems (ICS), and Local Maternity Systems (LMS) areas have all received information inviting them to express interest in piloting these services.
The plan is for pilot sites to mobilise from October 2020 onwards and it is expected that all areas of England will have access to these services by 2023/24.
The MMHA welcomes this positive step towards achieving ambitions for perinatal mental health laid out in the Long Term Plan. We will be following the pilot developments and learnings closely, which should translate into perinatal mental health support for more women and families in need.
The MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign has released new maps showing the provision of specialist perinatal mental health (PMH) community services in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (as ofwinter 2019/20). Despite welcoming major progress in commitments and funding promised by devolved nation governments, the maps continue to show the extent of the postcode lottery faced by women and families.
A reminder that services across the pathway are open!
The second half focusses on important campaign developments, including exciting news from Northern Ireland, and our expert by experience champions articulate why they think specialist PMH services are more important than ever.
Please share widely among your networks! On Twitter, please tag @MMHAlliance and #EveryonesBusiness.
Also available in Welsh!
This eBulletin has been translated into Welsh to support campaigners working hard to make maternal mental health Everyone’s Business in Wales.
Update from Dr Sarah Witcombe-Hayes, Everyone’s Business Campaign Wales Coordinator
Perinatal mental health
In Wales, community perinatal mental health (PMH) services have continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 crisis, providing support to mums, dads/partners and the families who need it.
Fortunately, PMH teams were unaffected by redeployment to other frontline areas and were able to work quickly and innovatively to ensure appointments moved online or over the phone, where possible. More intensive face-to-face support has been determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on need. Support and consultation for other healthcare colleagues have also been prioritised. Continue reading How perinatal mental health services in Wales reacted to the pandemic→