A roll-out of specialist mental health services for new and expectant mums across England is ‘fantastic to see’, BACP has said.

NHS England has announced community peri-natal mental health care services are now available at all 44 local national health service areas.

It means mums and mums-to-be who are experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health difficulties should be able to access the appropriate care nearer their homes.

Five years ago, two fifths of areas had no access to these specialist community peri-natal mental health treatment.

One in four women will experience mental ill health during pregnancy or in the two years after birth, according to the NHS.

Jo Holmes, BACP’s Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “It’s fantastic to see that these vital services are being brought closer to the new mums and pregnant women who need them so urgently.

Critical interventions

“We have to ensure that psychological therapies play a key role in the improvements to these peri-natal mental health services. They are critical interventions in helping to reduce the adverse effects of maternal mental health conditions and in reducing depressive symptoms in mothers. It’s vital women in need have access to them.”

“We look forward to seeing how the NHS will roll out the rest of its pledges within the NHS Long Term plan, including expanding access to talking therapies.”

The roll-out of these community teams is a key part of proposals to transform perinatal services, which have been mentioned in the NHS Long Term Plan, including expanding access to talking therapies.

The plan says the NHS intends to expand access to evidence-based psychological therapies within specialist perinatal mental health services so that they also include parent-infant, couple, co-parenting and family interventions.

The plan also proposes that maternity outreach clinics will join up maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, the maternity experience.

The NHS pledges that by 2023/4 an additional 54,000 women each year with moderate and complex, to severe mental health difficulties should get the right care, at the right time and as close to home as possible.

Better care

Claire Murdoch, NHS national mental health director said: “Mental ill health during pregnancy or that affects bonding with a new baby can be devastating, which is why the NHS has invested in better care for expectant and new mums, with at least 9,000 extra women getting treatment last year.

“As well as expanding access to world-leading talking therapy for anyone who needs it – the NHS Long Term Plan is further ramping up specialist perinatal care for every part of the country, offering tailored support to dads and partners and extending care to cover the first two years of a child’s life.”

To find a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help with peri-natal mental health issues visit our Therapist Directory.