Sustaining Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services in Scotland

Posted By: Amy Tubb

7th February 2024

  • Everyone's Business
  • Policy
  • Services
  • Scotland

1 minute read

Blog by MMHA Everyone's Business Coordinator for Scotland, Annabelle Openshaw

In November of last year, Parent and Infant Mental Health Scotland (PIMHS) and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) held a joint roundtable event at the Scottish Parliament, ‘Perinatal Mental Health is Everyone’s Business’. The event brought together MSPs, clinicians, health professionals, third sector organisations and lived experience experts, all with an interest in specialist Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) services in Scotland.

The event aimed to take stock of what position Scotland’s specialist PMH services are currently in, honouring the remarkable progress made in recent years but also identifying the outstanding barriers, gaps and challenges facing this area, and considering the best course of action for the future.   

We are delighted to share a briefing paper launched today, which details the key learning points from the roundtable discussion. In summary, these are:

  • The work must continue to address the inconsistency in specialist PMH provision across Scotland.
  • We must tackle the additional barriers to specialist care and the disparities in outcomes for women.
  • There is much more to be done to address persistent workforce challenges in specialist services.
  • Stronger collaboration between statutory services and the third sector will lead to better quality care.
  • Scotland needs a long-term vision and strategy for specialist PMH services.

At a time when there is substantial demand for mental health services and a freeze on Government funding for mental health, there is real concern that the focus on PMH will weaken, and resources will be diverted to other services. To avoid stalling or even going backwards, sustained effort and investment in specialist PMH services is essential to ensure all women, babies and families receive this life-changing, and at times lifesaving, care wherever and whenever they need it.

Working closely with colleagues from all areas of this work, we will continue to coordinate efforts towards a long-term vision and strategy for specialist PMH services in Scotland.

We hope you find the briefing interesting and useful. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the paper, please email

Download the briefing paper

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