Specialist mental health support announced for new mums in south west London

New and expectant mums in south west London will soon have access to specialist mental health community services, thanks to funding secured by South West London Health and Care Partnership.

The funding, announced today (Tuesday 8 May), will ensure that community perinatal mental health teams will be available to support new and expectant mums across south west London’s six boroughs; Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond.

Teams can be made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nursery nurses and administrative staff, who all work together to provide a comprehensive service to mums, depending on what their individual needs are.

These teams will offer psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during the perinatal period. They can also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.

The news comes as part of a national announcement to transform specialist perinatal services so that at least 30,000 additional women can access evidence based treatment that is closer to home and when they need it, through specialist community services and inpatient mother and baby units.

Sarah Blow, senior responsible officer for South West London Health and Care Partnership said:

“Over 21,000 women give birth every year across the six boroughs we serve. This funding will allow us to support any of those women, should they experience complex or severe mental health problems.

“In addition, it will allow us to deliver training to the wider workforce to ensure that others are confident in recognising the symptoms and helping to manage less serious mental health problems during the perinatal period.”

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director for NHS England said:

“Mental ill health doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mums but the whole family, which is why we are absolutely committed to driving forward improvements in care and ensuring this important area of mental health continues to get the attention it deserves.

“Women with lived in experience can play a pivotal role when it comes to shaping the services for others and influencing how we plan and deliver care effectively as possible. What we are now starting to see is evidence based NHS services growing in parts of the country where there used to be limited or no provision at all. Thanks to a continuing investment in services and a concerted effort from dedicated staff up and down the country, we are making huge strides forward and sooner rather than later we will turn England’s specialist perinatal mental health map green.”