News ID: 214680
Published: 0429 GMT May 08, 2018

Improved mental health care funding for new moms

Improved mental health care funding for new moms
Mental health problems can affect the whole family, not just moms.
BBC

New and expectant mothers in England will be able to access help with mental health problems more easily within the next year, according to NHS England.

More than £20 million will be spent on services in underserved parts of the country, BBC reported.

The announcement follows commitments to improve the help offered to mothers by both the former Prime Minister David Cameron and more recently, Theresa May.

This new funding builds on £40 million committed in 2016.

One in five women will experience a perinatal mental health problem, loosely defined as one that occurs either during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth.

The most common problem is depression or anxiety, but perinatal problems include a wide range of conditions.

The NHS advises that if left untreated, they can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman and her family, as well as long-standing effects on children's emotional, social and cognitive development.

But as recently as 2014, services were extremely patchy in England, with only three percent of the country judged to offer good access to care.

In 2016, NHS England announced that £40 million would be spent on more nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists to provide help to mothers and families both in the home and in maternity units.

Teams can also include social workers, occupational therapists and nursery nurses.

So far more than 7,000 women are believed to have accessed specialist help through new or expanded services.

Health service bosses said the release of a further £23 million should mean that by April next year, pregnant women and new moms across the whole of England are able to access specialist care and support.

 

'Disrupts life'

 

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England, said that mental ill health doesn't discriminate.

"It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for moms but the whole family, which is why we are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves.

"What we are now starting to see is evidence-based NHS services growing in parts of the country where there used to be limited or no provision at all."

Prof. Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, also welcomed the new funding.

"We are delighted to have been able to work closely with NHS England and Health Education England to help deliver the much-needed perinatal psychiatric workforce of the future.

"That 100 percent of the psychiatrists who completed our perinatal bursary scheme now have, or will have, perinatal consultant psychiatric jobs in their local areas is fantastic.

"This, together with the new wave of targeted funding, will help ensure that new and expectant moms will be able access specialist perinatal community services in every part of England by April 2019."

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, said the new funding could make a big difference to many women.

"Mumsnet's campaign for Better Postnatal Care has highlighted the breadth of perinatal mental health vulnerabilities, and has shown how many women struggle on with symptoms that make them feel miserable — or worse.

"Extra provision in this crucial area is so important and we hope it makes a real difference in supporting pregnant women and new mothers."

 

 

   
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