The Princess of Wales, Patron of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), visited Colham Manor Children’s Centre in Hillingdon today. The visit highlighted the life-changing impact that the provision of an integrated, multi-disciplinary system of care can have for mothers experiencing perinatal mental health issues.
By working collaboratively, health, social care services, and the voluntary and community sector can help to ensure every touchpoint of a mother’s journey before, during and after pregnancy provides effective support for their mental health needs. During The Princess’ visit to the Children’s Centre, she heard how the care provided in The London Borough of Hillingdon demonstrates the benefits of this joined-up approach.
Her Royal Highness joined a mother and baby group taking place at the Centre and spoke with mothers who have received support for their mental health to hear about their experiences of the borough’s integrated approach. The session included mothers and babies who have been supported by two MMHA member organisations – Home-Start and Birth Companions.
The Princess then met representatives from agencies working across perinatal services in Hillingdon, convened by the MMHA and chaired by Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for Perinatal Services CNWL, Dr Chrissy Jayarajah. Around the table were delegates from:
During the discussion, the group spoke about how the service has developed to meet the needs of all new and expectant mothers in their community, including those facing multiple disadvantages such as financial insecurity, contact with the criminal justice system, experience of abuse, and substance use. The group considered the impact this has on maternal mental health and explored opportunities for the services’ future growth.
Reflecting on today’s visit, Laura Seebohm, CEO of the MMHA, said:
“We were so proud to host our first event with our new patron, The Princess of Wales, this morning at the Colham Manor Children’s Centre in Hillingdon. The visit was a fantastic example of truly multi-agency holistic care for women experiencing maternal mental ill-health. An enormous thank you to the wonderful perinatal team at the CNWL Foundation Trust, Hillingdon Local Authority and MMHA members Birth Companions and Home-Start for all the work you do in placing mothers, babies and families at the heart of the care you provide and challenging stigma for so many new and expectant mums.”
Making all care count
The MMHA believes that all mothers should have equitable access to high-quality and compassionate maternal mental healthcare that meets their individual needs.
The agencies present at Colham Manor today, along with primary care and parent-infant teams, represent the essential services that can dramatically affect the lives of women with, or at risk of, poor maternal mental health.