Budget announcement today supports mothers with perinatal mental health problems

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance -Everyone’s Business campaign welcomes the £75 million over 5 years allocated to perinatal mental health services following George Osborne’s announcement today, as well as the acknowledgement of the unmet mental health needs of pregnant women and new mothers. We look forward to working with the Government to explore the further details in how this new money will be spent.

Although this funding is a vital first step, it is important to note that this allocation can only lay the foundations for the future investment still needed for improved and equitable access to services for all pregnant women and new mothers. The facts still remain:

  • More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or the first year after having a baby
  • 7 in 10 women hide or underplay the severity of their illness
  • Suicide is a leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth
  • All women in the UK have access to specialist physical health care in pregnancy and postnatally, but most women do not have access to specialist perinatal mental health care at this critical time. See maps for further details.

The announcement today highlights the importance to the nation of perinatal mental health, but this is only a first step towards the access to specialist perinatal mental health care all women across the country should have – in line with national guidance. The NHS and all Clinical Commissioning Groups must now take urgent action to ensure all women have access to safe care for their mental health during pregnancy and postnatally.

Click here to view the MMHA #everyonesbusiness campaign Call to Act which clearly defines how equitable specialist perinatal mental health services can be made possible and by when.

For further information, interviews with experts and ex-patients, please contact Maria Bavetta 07807 130878


Letter to The Times Editor

On Monday 20th October 2014, The Times published a letter signed by 70 leading academics highlighting concerns about gaps in services for women with mental health problems during the perinatal period – please see below:

Dear Sir,

We are writing to warn of the dangers of current gaps in services for women with mental health problems during pregnancy or postnatal period. Research released earlier this year shows that there are no specialist NHS perinatal mental health services in nearly half of areas in the UK and many regions have no specialist inpatient Mother and Baby Units. These gaps have important implications for the wellbeing of women and their families.

Maternal mental illness is common, affecting more than 10 percent of new mothers. It can also be severe, with suicide a leading cause of maternal death. In addition to the devastating consequences to the woman, untreated illness can have adverse effects on child development and long-term outcomes. Many of these problems can be avoided if maternal mental health problems are identified early and treated effectively but sadly too many women still do not receive the care they need.

Today, a new report reveals the heavy economic cost of perinatal mental illness to our society and public services. It shows that the long-term costs to society of perinatal mental illness are more than £8bn for each annual cohort of births in the UK. Nearly three quarters of this cost results from the adverse impacts of perinatal mental illness on the child.

We urge UK governments to do more to tackle the harm caused by maternal mental illnesses. They must hold national and local commissioners to account for the current lack of provision. The costs of perinatal mental illness – both human and economic – are too high to ignore this important issue.

Professor Debra Bick

Professor of Evidence Based Midwifery

King’s College, London


Professor Leon Feinstein

Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion

London School of Economics


Professor Peter Fonagy

Chief Executive, The Anna Freud Centre

Head of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology

University College London


Professor Vivette Glover

Professor of Perinatal Psychobiology

Imperial College London


Professor Ian Jones

Director, National Centre for Mental Health

Cardiff University


Professor Alan Stein

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

University of Oxford


Professor Terence Stephenson

Chair, UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges


Professor Kathryn M. Abel

Professor of Psychological Medicine

The University of Manchester


Dr Cheryll Adams,


Institute of Health Visiting


Dr Catherine Angell

Senior Academic for Midwifery

Bournemouth University


Dr Cathy Ashwin

Honorary Asst. Professor

University of Nottingham


Professor Jane Barlow

Professor of Public Health in the Early Years

Warwick University


Dr Sue Barker

Lecturer in Mental Health nursing

Cardiff University


Dr Giles Berrisford

Chair Action on Postpartum Psychosis and Honorary Senior Lecturer

University of Birmingham


Dr Roch Cantwell

Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

University of Glasgow


Elaine Clark

Chair of Scottish Perinatal Mental Health Forum


Dr FlorianaCoccia

Honorary Senior Lecturer and Senior Academy Tutor

University of Birmingham


Professor John Cox

Professor Emeritus

Keele University


Professor Nick Craddock

Professor of Psychiatry

Cardiff University


Dr Michael C. Craig

Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London


Emeritus Professor Dame Sarah Cowley,

Academic Health Visitor

King’s College London


Dr Paola Dazzan

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN)

King’s College London


Dr Arianna Di Florio

Research Fellow in Perinatal Mental Health

Cardiff University


Dr Jonathan Evans

Senior Lecturer

University of Bristol


Professor Charles Fernyhough

Department of Psychology

Durham University


Professor David Foreman

Visiting Professor

Royal Holloway, University of London


Dr Alain Gregoire

Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Southampton University


Dr Ben Hannigan

Reader in Mental Health Nursing

Cardiff University


Dr Jessica Heron

Senior Research Fellow in Perinatal Psychiatry

University of Birmingham


Professor Pat Hoddinott

Chair in Primary Care

Stirling University


Professor Kerry Hood

Director South East Wales Trials Unit

Cardiff University


Professor Louise Howard

NIHR Research Professor; Professor in Women’s Mental Health & Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London


Professor Vanora Hundley

Professor of Midwifery, Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health

Bournemouth University


Professor Billie Hunter

RCM Professor of Midwifery

Cardiff University


John Hyde

Associate Lecturer Mental Health

Cardiff University


Dr Lisa Jones

Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry

University of Birmingham


Dr Ann John

Associate Professor

Swansea University


Professor Sally Kendall

Director, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care

School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire


Professor Nancy Loucks

Centre for Law, Crime & Justice

University of Strathclyde.


Professor Christine MacArthur

Professor of Maternal and Child Epidemiology

University of Birmingham


Professor Alan Maryon-Davis

Chair, Best Beginnings, Hon Professor of Public Health

Department of Primary Care & Public Health Sciences

Kings College, London


Professor Elizabeth Meins

Department of Psychology

University of York


Dr R. Hamish McAllister-Williams

Reader in Clinical Psychopharmacology

Newcastle University


Dr Liz McDonald

Chair of Perinatal Faculty

Royal College of Psychiatrists


Dr Kirstie McKenzie-McHarg

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Honorary Research Fellow

City University


Professor Helen Minnis,

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

University of Glasgow


Professor Derek Moore

Director of Institute for Research in Child Development

University of East London


Sarah Morton

Co-Director, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships

University of Edinburgh


Dr Heather O’Mahen,

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

University of Exeter.


Dr Magaret Oates OBE

Clinical Director, East Midlands Strategic Clinical Network, NHS England.


Dr ShantiniParanjothy

Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health Medicine

Cardiff University


Professor Carmine Pariante

Professor of Biological Psychiatry

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London


Dr Susan Pawlby

Lecturer and Developmental Psychologist

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London


Professor Stavros Petrou

Professor of Health Economics

The University of Warwick


Dr. Moira Plant

Emerita Professor of Alcohol Studies

University of the West of England


Dr Christine Puckering

Honorary Senior Research Fellow

University of Glasgow


Professor Mary Renfrew

Professor of Mother and Infant Health

University of Dundee


Professor Jane Sandall

Professor of Women’s Health

King’s College London


Dr Julia Sanders

Reader and Consultant Midwife,

Cardiff University


Dr Judy Shakespeare

RCGP Clinical Champion in Perinatal Mental Health


Professor Debbie Sharp

Professor of Primary Health Care

University of Bristol


Dr Helen Sharp

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

University of Liverpool


Professor Pauline Slade

Professor of Clinical Psychology

Chair Faculty of Perinatal Psychology for the British Psychological Society

University of Liverpool


Professor Mary Target

Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology

University College London


Professor Julie Taylor

Director, Child Protection Research Centre

University of Edinburgh


Grace Thomas

Professional Head of Midwifery and Lead Midwife for Education

Cardiff University


Professor EssiViding

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology

University College London


Dr Pamela Warner

Centre for Research on Families & Relationships,

University of Edinburgh


Professor Cathy Warwick OBE

Chief Executive

Royal College of Midwives


Dr Angelika Weick

Honorary Senior Lecturer

University of Manchester


Professor Phil Wilson

Professor of primary care and rural health

University of Aberdeen


Dr Anja Wittkowski

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

University of Manchester


Dr Julie Wray

Senior Lecturer School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Science, University of Salford

Failure to fully address mental health problems in pregnancy and following childbirth costs over £8 billion, report finds

Perinatal mental health problems carry a total economic and social long-term cost to society of about £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK, according to a new report ‘The costs of perinatal mental health problems’ released today by the London School of Economics and Centre for Mental Health.

However the report also finds that the NHS would need to spend just £337 million a year to bring perinatal mental health care up to the level recommended in national guidance.

The report is part of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Everyone’s Business’ campaign (www.everyonesbusiness.org.uk), which calls on Governments and local health commissioners to ensure that all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems, receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.

Launching officially in Parliament on Tuesday 21st October, the report finds that the costs of mental health problems among women in pregnancy are far greater than previously thought; the cost to the public sector of perinatal mental health problems is five times greater than the cost of providing the services that are needed throughout the United Kingdom.

‘The costs of perinatal mental health problems’ finds that:

• Perinatal depression, anxiety and psychosis together carry a total long-term cost to society of about £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK.

• Nearly three-quarters (72%) of this cost relates to adverse impacts on the child rather than the mother.

• Over a fifth of total costs (£1.7 billion) are borne by the public sector, with the bulk of these falling on the NHS and social services (£1.2 billion).

• Other costs include loss of earnings/impact on someone’s ability to work and quality of life affects.

There is clear guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other national bodies on the treatment of mental illness during and after pregnancy. Yet the current provision is best described as patchy, with significant variations in coverage around the country:

• About half of all cases of perinatal depression and anxiety go undetected and many of those which are detected fail to receive evidence-based forms of treatment.

• Specialist perinatal mental health services are needed for women with complex or severe conditions, but less than 15% of localities provide these at the full level recommended in national guidance and more than 40% provide no service at all.

Perinatal mental health problems are common and costly. They affect up to 20% of women at some point during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth and are a major public health issue impacting on both women and baby. The good news is that women recover when they get the right treatment. It is vital that all women, wherever they live get the specialist help they need.”
Dr Alain Gregoire, Maternal Mental Health Alliance Chair

Every baby in the UK deserves to have the best possible start in life. Supporting perinatal mental health within a parent infant relationship is critical to lifelong health and happiness for every child.”
Andrea Leadsom MP for South Northamptonshire

Our findings show that mothers’ mental health is vital to the economy and to society as a whole, particularly because of the potential negative impact that untreated maternal mental health problems may have on children. In order to protect the family’s long-term health, intervention needs to start before the child is born, or shortly after because the potential benefits are very high and the costs could be fully recovered in a short time frame
Annette Bauer, LSE’s Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) – lead author of the report

This report shows there can be no more excuses: national and local authorities, commissioners and governments must act now to ensure specialist perinatal mental health services (in line with national guidelines) are available throughout the UK. Only then can we expect to fully reduce any tragically avoidable human and economic costs.”
Emily Slater, Everyone’s Business Campaign Manager

The costs of perinatal mental health problems report is available below:

Embargoed 20th Oct Summary of Economic Report – costs of Perinatal Mental Health problems

Embargoed 20th Oct Final Economic Report – costs of perinatal mental health problems