Mother and Baby – Mental Health Matters
Many women and new parents find that being pregnant and having a baby doesn’t turn out to be the happy time they were expecting. Instead, they feel low, anxious and worried.
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of social and emotional wellbeing for babies, launches on 6 June. The aspiration to give every baby the best possible start in life is shared by NHS healthcare organisations in Gloucestershire, and they are promoting this campaign locally.
The local NHS campaign, Mother and Baby – Mental Health Matters, highlights the common difficulties women and their partners can experience during pregnancy and after the birth of their child and to give advice about where to seek help, and encourage early support. Patients and visitors can look out for information and displays in our maternity unit at the Women's centre, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Dr Jeremy Welch, Clinical Lead for Women’s Services at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
Many women find it hard to tell someone that they are feeling low and having difficulties. However, it is important for any women who feel like this to talk to their midwife, health visitor or doctor to get the help and support they need to start feeling better.
"Mental wellbeing is just as important as being in good physical health, and although most women go through pregnancy and the first year after giving birth without any mental health problems, many women do.”
Assistant Director of Maternity & Fertility Services/Supervisor of Midwives at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT) Dawn Morrall said:
“Experiencing mental health problems in pregnancy can be hard to talk about, but we really want to let people know that there is help and support available for women and their families.
"Don’t be afraid to talk about how you are feeling with your midwife, GP or doctor – they will be happy to discuss your particular problem and care with you.”
Service Director Jan Furniaux, from 2gether NHS Foundation Trust’s Perinatal Reference Group, said:
“Of all of the health challenges facing pregnant women and new mothers, mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and postpartum psychosis are among the most common.
“More than one in ten women will suffer from a perinatal mental illness spanning from mild disorders and stress through to chronic serious mental illness. The human impact is felt not only by the women suffering from perinatal illness but also by their families. It is so important that these women seek help when they need it.”
Recognising the importance of the social and emotional wellbeing of both parents and infants, the CCG has committed funds to developing maternity and mental health services to ensure women and their families get the right support when they need it most.
The partner NHS and social care organisations are working across the county, with support from voluntary agencies, to develop robust services for women who experience mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy. Part of this includes a focus on the theme of reducing stigma and making it ok to talk about.
The message in Gloucestershire is that it’s ok to talk and help is out there to support the women who need it.
Notes to Editors
Further information about Perinatal Mental Health Week is available at: http://www.infantmentalhealthweek.com/
Women who are affected by anxiety, worries or low mood before or after having their baby can speak to:
- Their GP, midwife or health visitor
- The free NHS Let’s Talk service on 0800 073 2200
- Their local Children’s Centre (www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/article/110061/Childrens-Centres)
- The Samaritans on 116 123
Information is available on our website