NHS England are to launch 26 new mental health hubs aimed at helping and supporting thousands of new, expectant or bereaved mothers with their mental health.
Drawing together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy under a single roof, as part of one of the objectives of the NHS Long Term Plan, the new dedicated hubs are expected to support around 66,000 women across the country within the next few years.
These hubs will provide mothers with access to care and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after giving birth to others with a severe fear of childbirth.
As well as offering psychological therapies for new and expectant mothers, the new dedicated clinics will also provide specialist training for maternity staff and midwives.
Ten of the sites are expected to be up and running within months, while the remainder are due to open by April 2022.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s vision, every area across the country will be served by at least one dedicated hub by April 2024, increasing access to psychological support for women before, during and after pregnancy.
NHS England Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The pregnancy and the birth of a new child are a special time for families but if things go wrong it can have a huge impact on women, their partners and even other children.
“That is why the NHS is developing maternal mental health services to help them get back on track as part of our NHS Long Term Plan.
“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.”
Dr Giles Berrisford, NHS England’s National Speciality Advisor for Perinatal Mental Health, added: “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.”