24% Of Women In The UK Have No Access To Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services

Lucy Donoughue
By Lucy Donoughue,
updated on Apr 19, 2018

24% Of Women In The UK Have No Access To Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services

While progress has been seen in some parts of the country - families still face a postcode lottery

A report released by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance today, shows that new mums and pregnant women in 24% of the UK have no access to specialist perinatal mental health services. It is thought that one in five women develop a mental illness during pregnancy, or in the first year after their baby is born.

While the lack of support in 24% of the country is deeply problematic, there has been some progress since the last time perinatal mental health provision was analysed and mapped in 2015. Welsh local health boards have rapidly improved services in some areas after receiving money from the Welsh Government and NHS England has developed specialist services after receiving new Government money for perinatal mental health provision. However, no funding has been made available for services in Scotland and Northern Ireland to date.

In response to the report, Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ perinatal faculty, said “There has been an improvement in the provision of service across the UK in recent years, but these new maps show that a quarter of the UK still have no services. Some areas will benefit from NHS England’s mental health plan which invested £365m in new perinatal services.

"The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been developing services and supporting training of new perinatal psychiatrists through a bursary scheme. Untreated mental illness has a significant impact not just on the woman, but also their baby and families.

"With one in five women suffering a significant mental health problem in pregnancy or after they’ve had a baby, it is vital that no woman faces a postcode lottery for the care they deserve and need."

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance's Everyone's Business Campaign is calling for all areas to receive the neccesary funding.

A map of service provision across the UK can be found here.

Self-help guides and further support information can be found on the Maternal Mental Health Alliance website.

If you would like to seek support and Counselling visit Counselling Directory.

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