Perinatal Mental Health

Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family.

South west London does not currently have a specialist perinatal community mental health team that meets national guidance set out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych). The Mental Health Five-Year Forward View sets out national ambitions to increase the numbers of women seen by specialist perinatal community mental health teams. In order to deliver on these ambitions, national transformation funding is being made available but areas have to bid for the money.

In order to ensure that the voice of women and families are at the heart of the bid, we undertook a three-fold engagement exercise in August 2017 to develop what the model of care could like. This was the beginning of the conversation and if the bid is successful, we would seek to build on this early engagement by further involvement in the implementation and delivery of the service.

The engagement exercise comprised: focus group with women affected by these issues; one-to-one interviews with women and a workshop with voluntary sector colleagues.

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