Today the NCT launches its ‘Hidden Half’ campaign and releases new findings which show that half (50%) of mothers experienced mental health problems at some time during pregnancy or within the first year of their child’s birth. These can include postnatal depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and postpartum psychosis.
Nearly half (42%) of new mothers’ mental health problems did not get picked up by a doctor or other health professional.
The research also highlights how the six-week postnatal check-up is failing to pick up mental health issues in mothers. The routine health check, six weeks after a baby’s birth, is a vital opportunity to uncover any physical and mental health problems for women and babies.
The NCT is calling for an improvement to the six-week postnatal check-up to reduce the number of mothers who don’t get diagnosed and treated properly. They say that extra funding would go a long way to reduce the pressure GPs face in supporting new mums.
Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, responds to the survey:
“The findings of this valuable survey by the NCT reveal that many new mums with mental health problems are still not getting the support they need. This matches the results of other studies showing that, when it comes to mums’ mental health, the NHS is often not meeting its own quality standards.
The six week check is a golden opportunity to identify women experiencing poor mental health and provide vital help. GPs are often doing their best but more resources and training are desperately needed. Improvements are required in the GP surgery and across the rest of the healthcare system, so that women and their families get access to the quality of services they should expect from the NHS, no matter where they live.”
To read the full story and report: https://www.nct.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/hidden-half
To sign up to the Hidden Half campaign: www.nct.org.uk/hiddenhalf