£365 million has been committed by NHS England to deliver perinatal mental health services across the country over the next five years.
An additional £5 million has been granted under the Perinatal Community Services Development Fund.
In England, only 15% of areas have specialist maternal mental health services at the level recommended in national guidelines.
40% of areas in the country do not offer any maternal mental health services.
Director of Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton, said: “The RCM believes that every Trust with maternity services should have a specialist mental maternal health midwife in post to work with community specialist teams to implement appropriate care pathways for women with pregnancy related mental health problems.”
NHS England has suggested that 30,000 women every year will be able to access the correct treatment and care under the new programme.
“We know that suicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy and in new mothers [in the UK and up to] 20 per cent of women are affected by mental health problems at some point in pregnancy or the postnatal period – within the first year after birth.
“Midwives play a central role in promoting the emotional well-being of women and their babies and [in] ensuring that all women with mental health concerns get appropriate and timely care,” Louise Silverton added.
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