£1.5m perinatal mental health care help for women in Wales

The Welsh Government has pledged a total of £7.5 million (£1.5m per year over 5 years) to improve mental health outcomes for women with perinatal illnesses, their babies and other children. Members of the campaign team met with Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford and are keen to actively support this encouraging initiative. The main proportion of funding will support the development of multidisciplinary networked services and robust pathways at all levels across Wales with some Health Boards setting up specific perinatal special interest groups for service development.

More news here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-35771874



Fern Britton joins mums and dads to speak out about Maternal Mental Health for Sport Relief


  • More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby
  • Join the conversation from 11am on Twitter @SportRelief using #MumTalk 
  • Sport Relief cash to help people affected by maternal mental health problems


As part of a series of new short films produced by Sport Relief, TV presenter Fern Britton will share her experience of maternal mental health alongside other mums and dads from across the UK, who have also been affected, on Wednesday 24th February.

The films will be shared on Sport Relief’s Twitter feed to shine a light on maternal mental illness in the UK and help to reduce stigma around the issue. The public will also be encouraged to share their stories and talk about their own experiences. Members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which benefits from Sport Relief cash, will be responding during the day to any people looking for advice or support.

By going to @SportRelief on the day, the nation will gain a unique insight into an issue that affects as many as 1 in 10 women yet is still a big taboo and not talked about openly. Many women feel completely alone and too embarrassed to share their true feelings, with 7 in 10 women affected hiding or downplaying their symptoms.

Without understanding, support, and treatment these mental illnesses have a devastating impact on the women affected and on their partners and families. However, with the right help at the right time women affected by maternal mental health problems do get better.

By giving women and men a platform to speak out about maternal mental illness, Sport Relief hopes to highlight what help is out there, and encourage more people affected to seek the support they need to recover.

Cash raised through Sport Relief has been helping to fund maternal mental health projects in the UK since 2010. These projects include the Bluebell Care Trust in Bristol, and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Everyone’s Business’ campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of maternal mental health issues at a national level and is helping women and families across the UK to access specialist support.

The contributors featuring in the films have been helped through Bluebell Care Trust and member organisations of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

Fern Britton said: “Everyone tells you that having a baby is going to be perfect, so you try to be the perfect mum. However, you’re not blooming at all, you’re blooming awful. I was lonely, isolated and frightened. I felt lost, like a failure and I couldn’t identify with who I was anymore. When the doctor told me what I was feeling was Postnatal Depression it was so liberating, I felt such a sense of relief that I wasn’t going mad. Once my family knew, I started to get better. Once I could talk to my family and they understood, it was a wonderful feeling.”

The minute I said the words to someone, help it was there for me. If I had known how easy it was to get help I would have told someone sooner. Having been through this and getting better myself I would urge any mum who might be feeling in a dark place to tell someone – don’t wait! If you tell someone, you will get help, and you will get better.”

The day is being supported by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Bluebell Care Trust, the Royal College of General Practitioners, MIND, Channel Mum who are following the stories @SportRelief and sharing their own views and insight using #MumTalk.

Dr Alain Gregoire, Perinatal Psychiatrist and Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said: “Being a parent is the most difficult thing any of us ever does and when we go through difficult times we need other people, but if we are not mentally well, we feel alone. Knowing you are not alone, that other people care and want to help, and knowing that if you speak out about how you are feeling you will get help, are crucial steps to recovery. Through this day of activity, Sport Relief is giving every one of us the opportunity to help mums and dads who are suffering from mental health problems at this critical time in their lives”

Sport Relief is back from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March and there are more ways than ever for you to take part, change lives and feel proud. The money raised will transform people’s lives in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities, including people affected by maternal mental health problems.



Sport Relief Media Team:

020 7820 2500


Out of hours 07984 510 473


Notes to editors

About Sport Relief

Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives, across the UK and the world’s poorest communities.  It all leads up to the Sport Relief weekend and a fantastic night of TV on the BBC.

Sport Relief 2016 will take place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March 2016. You can run, swim, cycle or even walk yourself proud at events across the country. There’s a distance for everyone, whether you’re sporty or not. Find out more at www.sportrelief.com


Perinatal Mental Health Services – encouraging support

The start of 2016 has seen a huge surge of interest in Perinatal Mental Health in many different arenas. There has been a storm of media coverage, renewed significant parliamentary commitment and promised funds from Government, all focused on specialist perinatal mental health care.

When questioned about how the pledged extra investment would be spent, Alistair Burt MP, the Minister of State for the Department of Health said:

“The additional significant investment in perinatal mental health totalling £350 million from 2016/17- 2020/21, together with the recommendations of the forthcoming report of the independent Mental Health Taskforce, will enable NHS England to design a broader five year transformation programme to build capacity and capability in specialist perinatal mental health services, with the aim of enabling women in all areas of England to access care that is in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines by 2020/21.

 “Work is underway to lay the foundations for this longer-term work through targeted funding of activities to build capacity in specialist services. This will include, for example, a £1 million investment in strengthening clinical networks across the country. It is also expected to include developing clinical leadership capacity and training for the perinatal workforce to build the skills and capabilities within specialist teams.

“NHS England will work with partners, including Health Education England, over the coming months, to develop the five-year programme for improving specialist perinatal mental health services.”

Source: Hansard 29th January


Burt also referred to the prominent story featured currently in the major BBC1 soap EastEnders, saying:

I agree that the Alliance is right to draw attention to this and I want our response to be better than it has been in the past. It’s great that EastEnders is raising awareness of this very important issue and it makes for some harrowing scenes to watch. Having a baby is a major life event and we want all new and expectant mums to get the mental health support they need. That’s why we are spending an extra £350million on perinatal mental health services over the next five years.

“We have specialist Mother and Baby units across the country that allow women to stay with their babies while they get the psychiatric care they need, and we have trained midwives and health visitors to be able to spot the signs of perinatal mental illness. The investment we’ve made will help us make sure all women get the right support, at the right time, regardless of where they live.”

The Eastenders storyline focuses primarily on a family’s fight to get a mother a place in a Mother and Baby Unit after she is admitted without her newborn baby to an adult psychiatric ward when suffering Postpartum Psychosis. We thank the Eastenders team and the Alliance members who have worked closely together to ensure the filming was true and accurate. The soap has been instrumental in both raising understanding and awareness of this condition.

Mental Health Taskforce announcement

In addition to the announcements regarding the extra parliamentary spend in Perinatal Mental Health care, it was made public on Monday 15th Feb that an extra £1 billion per year would be released into mental health services by the year 2020. Maternal mental health is also detailed in this announcement:

One in five mothers suffer from mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. It costs around £8.1 billion for each annual birth cohort or almost £10,000 per birth. Yet fewer than 15% of areas have the necessary perinatal mental health services and more than 40% provide none at all.  New funding should be invested to support at least 30,000 more women each year to access evidence-based specialist mental health care in the perinatal period.”

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP said:

We have made monumental strides in the way we think about and treat mental illness in this country in the last few decades — from a society that locks people away in asylums to one giving mental health equal priority in law.

“But we must accelerate progress even further. Our shared vision of a seven-day mental health service means people will get the care they need, when they need it, and will help us do much more to prevent mental illness in the first place. We will work across Government and with the NHS to make the recommendations in this landmark report a reality, so that we truly deliver equality between mental and physical health.”

For further detail about the announcement please click here.

National Institute of Health and Care Excellence – Quality standards Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health

Thursday 18th February also saw the launch of the new NICE Quality Standards for Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health, click here for further details.




New NICE quality standard for antenatal and postnatal mental health

This quality standard covers the recognition, assessment, care and treatment of mental health problems in women during pregnancy and the postnatal period (up to 1 year after childbirth). It also includes providing pre‑conception support and advice for women with an existing mental health problem who might become pregnant, and the organisation of mental health services needed in pregnancy and the postnatal period.