latest health care news

25.07.16

RCGP launches resources to fight ‘stigma’ of perinatal mental health problems

GPs are being encouraged to support patients dealing with perinatal mental health problems with a new hub of resources from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

The new toolkit includes a list of 10 questions to help GPs identify the signs of antenatal and postnatal mental health issues in new mothers, information leaflets for patients, and links to supporting charities and social media groups.

The RCGP warned that mothers still fear the stigma of admitting to mental health issues, despite the fact that they affect up to 20% of women during pregnancy and the first year of their child’s life.

Dr Judy Shakespeare, clinical champion for Perinatal Mental Health at the RCGP, said: “While our attitudes to mental health issues seem to be improving as a society, a terrible stigma still surrounds mothers with mental health problems, not least from the women themselves who think they are being judged as 'bad' mothers or are frightened that their child will be taken away if they open up about how they are feeling.

 "We hope that this toolkit will prove a useful for GPs, especially in broaching what can be difficult conversations around mental health.

 “In the wider scheme of things there is a real economic case for investing in specialist perinatal services, which across the country are patchy at best.”

Dr Carrie Ladd, RCGP clinical fellow for Perinatal Mental Health, and lead on the PMH toolkit, added: “There are lots of resources of varying quality out there, but they are scattered all over the place – this toolkit brings the best altogether, in an easily accessible format.”

She said that the resources were particularly important because the “immense workload pressures” GPs are under and the 10-minute period allowed for consultations make it harder to identify signs of complex mental health problems.

The National Maternity Review and the mental health taskforce have both identified the need for substantial improvements in how the NHS provides perinatal and mental health care.

(Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Wire)

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Comments

Harold A. Maio   25/07/2016 at 19:14

Let us say that in directing the term "stigma" you cause even one woman harm. Or one child. It will not have been worth it.

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