The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s campaign – Everyone’s Business – calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.
To make sure women receive the perinatal mental health care they need, we must ensure the following:
- Accountability for perinatal mental health care is clearly set at a national level and complied with.
- Community specialist perinatal mental health services meeting national quality standards are available for women in every area of the UK.
- Training in perinatal mental health is delivered to all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and the first year after birth.
The costs of not treating perinatal mental illnesses effectively are significant, making this lack of support a major public health concern.
Untreated perinatal mental illnesses have a wide range of effects on the mental and physical health of women, their children, partners and significant others.
They are also one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and the year after birth.
The costs of undiagnosed or untreated perinatal mental health problems include:
perinatal mental illness can cause intense, debilitating, isolating and often frightening suffering for women.
damage to families
perinatal mental illness can have a long-term impact on a woman’s self-esteem and relationships with partners and family members.
impact on children
perinatal mental illness can have an adverse impact on the interaction between a mother and her baby, affecting the child’s emotional, social and cognitive development.
death or serious injury
In severe cases, perinatal mental illness can be life-threatening: suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women in the UK during the perinatal period.
The economic cost to society of not effectively treating perinatal mental illness far outweighs the cost of providing appropriate services. A report on this, ‘The Costs of Perinatal Mental Health Problems’ was published (October 2014) by the London School of Economics and the Centre for Mental Health – see Resources.
If perinatal mental health problems were identified and treated quickly and effectively, all of these serious and often life-changing human and economic costs could be avoided.
We have produced a dotted map to show where additional dedicated funding has been given for specialist perinatal mental health community services in England and Wales. To date there has been no additional dedicated funding announced for specialist perinatal mental health services by governments in Northern Ireland or Scotland.
An area RAG-rated green on the map shows where women can access treatment that meets nationally agreed standards. We want to Turn the Map Green so women across the UK can access specialist perinatal mental health services whenever and wherever they need it.
Download our maps here.
Lead Organisation: Action on Postpartum Psychosis