Mother with baby

NHS Cumbria roll out pilot mental health scheme

The North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new maternal mental scheme ahead of maternal mental health week.

The initiative is designed to help those who have faced trauma before, during or after pregnancy and people who have a fear or phobia of anything related to their pregnancy.

The new scheme, called the Maternal Mental Health Service (MMHS) is run by a small team comprised of, Dr Catherine Parker – Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for MMHS, Ria Lowrie – Senior Psychological Therapist and Sophie Bradbury – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.

Catherine Parker said: “We know that for many people having a baby is a happy and exciting time, but sometimes things can happen that feel frightening, distressing and overwhelming. You may not have had the birth you wished to have or your baby may have needed additional medical attention. You may have experienced multiple miscarriages or be grieving for the loss of a baby."

She added: “Or you may have fears relating to hospitals, which means your pregnancy becomes a very anxious time. This is why we are piloting a new service for the Trust which seeks to support some women and birthing people who experience trauma, loss or fear relating to their pregnancy or to childbirth.”

 The team will be able to offer a small range of services including:

  • 1:1 talking therapy
  • Advice on other services that may be helpful
  • Provide information on support services for partners and significant others

Parker concluded: “This new service is part of a package of offers available in North Cumbria for women, birthing people and partners who are having emotional and mental health difficulties and we work closely with the midwives, health visitors, and other existing services such as the Perinatal Mental Health Service, First Steps and non-NHS organisations, to help get the best support for each person.”

Referrals can be offered by midwives, obstetricians, health visitors or just your GP and once referred patients can expect an appointment to be granted within four weeks.

Once an appointment has been scheduled the meeting will last approximately 50 minutes and will cover the difficulties the patient is facing; the patient’s priorities; the patient’s ultimate aspirations for the treatment and generally how best to support the patient.

The team will also offer a variety of therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, compassion focused therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.

The service will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

More information on the new service can be found here.

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NHE May/June 2024

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