More new Portsmouth mums needing support from mental health services, data reveals

MORE new or expectant mothers are getting in touch with mental health services than they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 7:32 am

NHS Digital data reveals there were around 50 open referrals to a perinatal mental health team in the NHS Portsmouth CCG area at the end of January.

That was up from 40 a year earlier, and just above the 45 recorded at the end of December.

Perinatal mental health problems are those which affect women during pregnancy or in the first year after their child is born.

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Charity the National Childbirth Trust says the impact of Covid-19 has left many mothers across England struggling, and has called for them to have more support.

Sarah McMullen, director of impact and engagement at the National Childbirth Trust, said: ‘We’ve heard throughout the pandemic from mums struggling with the impact on their emotional wellbeing.

‘We don’t think that new mothers are getting enough support.’

Despite rising numbers of referrals, a recent survey carried out by the charity found around one in four new mothers are not being asked about their mental health at their six-week routine GP check-up

Across England, there were 19,600 open referrals at the end of January – up from 17,600 a year earlier and more than at the end of any month in 2020.

The NHS recently announced it was planning 26 new ‘hubs’ across the country to bring maternity services and psychological therapy under one roof.

An NHS spokesman said: ‘We have already addressed what was a postcode lottery, by ensuring everywhere in the country has a specialist perinatal mental health service and as part of our Long Term Plan will continue to expand so that at least 66,000 women will be able to access specialist care every year by 2023-24.’

Minister for mental health and maternity safety Nadine Dorries added: ‘I am acutely aware of the challenges new and expectant mothers, and their families, have faced over the last year.

‘Throughout the pandemic, mental health has remained a priority and services, including specialist perinatal mental health services which now exist in every area of England, have remained open, adapting to provide digital and remote support.’

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