Extra mental health support for mums-to-be and new mothers backed by Northamptonshire charity

Anna Day, NorPIP
Anna Day, NorPIP

A Northamptonshire charity that helps pregnant women and new mothers has welcomed additional NHS support for mental health issues.

New NHS guidelines have been launched to improve antenatal and postnatal mental health for mothers during pregnancy and the first year after birth. A key aspect of the reform will be the early identification of parents who are more likely to suffer from depression in pregnancy or post pregnancy and identifying early support.

NorPIP, Northamptonshire’s Parent Infant Partnership which specialises in support to parents who are suffering from mental health issues, has praised the move.

“There is an £8.1 billion long term cost in supporting families where we have failed to identify families with mental health problems, with one in every two cases going undetected” said Anna Day, NorPIP’s executive director.

“A recent report published by the LSE estimated it would cost just £280 million a year to bring the standard of care recommended in national guidance.  It is time for a step change in the way we view families with mental health issues,” she added added.

Becky Wylde, NorPIP’s clinical lead, added: “We are excited about the opportunity of a more strategic approach to postnatal and perinatal care and support for parents with mental health problems.

“All too often, we are unable to support families needing our services due to limited funds for our therapeutic services.” .

Julie Robinson, executive director of PIP UK, a national charity supporting the development of therapeutic services for mothers and babies, said: “We particularly welcome the emphasis on GP’s referring families to specialist pre-natal and postnatal mental health services at the earliest stage.

“Being able to offer a psychological intervention when a mother has to cease medication before or during pregnancy is important to reduce the risk to the mother and unborn child. This is critical, not only for the mental health of the parents but also to ensure babies and infants are safe from the risks of harm as a result of parental mental health issues.

“We call on local Clinical Commissioning Groups to take up the challenge and help extend the reach of our services across the UK.”