Mental health service
launched for new and expectant mums
LOCAL mental health partners have
launched a specialist mental health service to help new and expectant mums in
Cheshire and Merseyside.
Cheshire and Mersey Specialist Perinatal Service has been set up to support
women and families experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and in
the 1st year after birth.
The specialist service consists of 3 'local' teams, provided by Cheshire
and Wirral Partnership (CWP), North West Boroughs Healthcare and Mersey Care NHS
The 3 teams aim to improve access to evidence-based treatments, as well as
training for other frontline staff caring for local women to ensure consistent,
high quality care across the region.
NHS England have committed more than ₤3m to the project, which forms part of the
Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).
Speaking at the launch of CWP's local team at Sycamore House in Ellesmere Port,
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Tania Stanway said:- "Mental health problems
are the 2nd leading cause of death amongst women in the perinatal period, and
they have long term effects on women, their children and the wider family. The
launch of this new service is fantastic news as it means we are able to provide
improved care and mental health support for thousands of women during this
critical time in their lives."
Tom Slater, a Student Nurse from Birkenhead, attended the launch event. He
said:- "It's been really interesting and it's been good to talk to such a
diverse range of mental health professionals, some who have come from services
that I didn't even know existed.
As a man, it has also been useful to learn about perinatal issues from the dad
perspective, as well as from the mother's side. This event has been of great
benefit to someone like me who has a work background in health and social care."
Women are more likely to suffer from mental health issues during the perinatal
period than at any other point in their lives. More than 20% of the 27,000 women
giving birth in Cheshire and Merseyside each year experience some sort of mental
health issue and these difficulties can have a long-term impact on both mother
and child if left untreated.
Early intervention from the new specialist service will reduce the risk of local
women and their children from experiencing problems in the future.
Cheshire and Merseyside is 1 of 44 areas (or 'footprints') across
England that have come together as health and care systems to develop
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). The partnerships aim to
deliver the priorities in the NHS 5 Year Forward View, which include
ambitious commitments to improve mental health and services.
All three of the NHS Foundation Trusts involved have committed to the
transformation of mental health services in Cheshire and Merseyside, which is
being led by CWP Chief Executive Sheena Cumiskey:- "As partners working
across Cheshire and Merseyside, we aim to develop greater collaborative working
so that we can deliver consistent, high quality care across the region. Everyone
involved is delighted that women will be able to access services across the
whole of Cheshire and Merseyside. Additional funding is expected to become
available nationally to support mental health transformation and we will
continue to work collaboratively across Cheshire and Merseyside to access this
and deliver improvements for our population."
Nicola Allen, Head of the Medical Directorate for NHS England Cheshire and
Merseyside added:- "This is good news for Cheshire and Merseyside. A
priority is to improve the community services available for new and expectant
mums. We believe this new service will put the region ahead of the curve in
terms of developing services that prevent women and their children experiencing
mental health problems in the future."
Thousands of women from across Cheshire and Merseyside will benefit from the new
Rebecca Brook, a teacher from Macclesfield, was diagnosed with depression
shortly after giving birth to daughter Eleanor in 2015. She said:- "I
struggled to breastfeed when Eleanor was first born. This made me feel like I
had failed as a mother, which led to strong feelings of depression and anxiety.
I knew about the dangers of mental health to women during the perinatal period,
but I never realised just how bad it makes women feel.
I felt lonely and isolated. There were constant tears and even times when I felt
like running away because I thought Eleanor would be better off without me as
I was lucky to have such fantastic support from my health visitor, as well as
local mothering group, SMILE. However, I understand that some people aren't so
It's pleasing to hear about this new service as I'm sure it can really help to
change stigma around perinatal mental health and provide consistent levels of
support to local women."
For more information on Cheshire and Mersey Specialist Perinatal Service visit:-