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Perinatal mental health hubs announced

Tuesday April 6th 2021

England is to get 26 hubs to provide support for mothers with mental health problems, it has been announced.

The specialist centres will host maternity services, psychological therapy and reproductive health services, NHS England said.

It is expected that 6,000 women a year will use the centres, which are to be opened over the next year. NHS England promised there would be one in every area by April 2024.

NHS England national adviser for perinatal mental health Dr Giles Berrisford said: “We know around one in four women experiences mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 24 months after giving birth, and these maternal mental health services will provide vital support, meeting the specific needs of these women.

“Their establishment will significantly contribute to the overall commitment of the NHS to enable at least 66,000 women with moderate to severe mental health difficulties related motherhood to access specialist care by 2023/24.”

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with more than 393,000 patients requiring hospital treatment for Covid-19 but we have also kept mental health services running and I am delighted that, we are now expanding help for new, expectant and bereaved mums despite the continuing pandemic.”

The Royal College of Midwives said the announcement was “timely” given an increase in perinatal mental health problems during the pandemic.

Birte Harley-Lam, RCM executive director, said: “For too long women with pregnancy related mental health problems have suffered with care and support often resembling a postcode lottery. Women suffered in silence and their problems deteriorated often so badly that they ended up needing care in a mother and baby unit miles away from their homes.

“It was only when crisis level had been reached that women are treated at these specialists’ units. These new hubs will hopefully address that and will enable women to get the support they need more locally and during their pregnancy."

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Mental Health | Nursing & Midwifery | NHS | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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