In January last year, the Minister for Health Robin Swann approved funding for the development of specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services in each of Northern Ireland’s five Health and Social Care Trusts.
Since then, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has been working with Trusts to establish new multidisciplinary community perinatal mental health teams, that will include a new stepped care model to ensure regional consistency.
Watch this short video update from the PHA to hear about the progress made:
Watch the video update in full here.
The MMHA is so encouraged by this update and congratulates the PHA and Trusts on their progress, especially those who have already opened their doors to women and families. We hope the remaining services will soon catch up and we’ll be looking at a greener map in Northern Ireland.
This point could not have been reached without the hard work and dedication of campaigners, experts by experience and clinicians, whose sustained and coordinated efforts caught the attention of the Government and secured funding. Our heartfelt thanks, as ever, goes out to every individual involved in establishing these much-needed services for women and families.
While we celebrate yet another important milestone and recognise the amazing work that has preceded it, we must not forget that ‘specialist perinatal services’ should also include access to an inpatient mother and baby unit (MBUs), where mum and baby can be cared for together if hospitalisation is required. Discussions continue and a business case is being developed to establish an MBU in Northern Ireland. This remains a crucial and, in some cases, lifesaving service component, which must be established if ALL women and families in Northern Ireland are to get the expert perinatal mental healthcare they need.