Perinatal Mental Health

Pregnancy and giving birth can significantly affect a woman’s mental health, even if she has had no history of mental illness. Mental health support for women while pregnant and for up to a year after giving birth is known as Perinatal Mental Health. Perinatal mental illness can affect up to 20% of women during this time, as well as those who experience loss in pregnancy. If left untreated, it can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman and her family.

Until 2018, South West London did not have a specialist community perinatal mental health team that met national guidance as set out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych). Nationally, the Mental Health Five Year Forward View set an ambition to increase the numbers of women seen by specialist community perinatal mental health teams. To deliver on this ambition, national transformation funding was made available for which areas had to bid. South West London was successful in our bid for funding.

As part of the bid development and to ensure that the voice of women and families were at the heart of our bid, we undertook a three-fold engagement exercise in August 2017 to develop what the model of care could look like. This was the beginning of the conversation and we built on this early engagement with further involvement of key stakeholders in October 2018 on implementation and delivery of the service.

From November 2018, mobilisation across South West London has been moving at pace to create community perinatal mental health teams aligned to our four acute hospitals, delivering high-quality perinatal mental health care and support to pregnant women and those who have given birth and who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of mental ill health. We are confident that we will achieve our target for numbers of women seen this year and will continue to expand the services in the years to come, aligned with the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Report from the perinatal mental health focus group August 2017

Download (PDF, 620KB)