Mental Health Care in Maternity Settings

Tags: Report

6th August 2021



Mental Healthcare Screenshot 2021 08 06 105532


What this guide covers and offers

This guide is for commissioners and staff involved in maternity and neonatal care. It aims to guide thinking about how best to provide services that will support mental health in the maternity and neonatal context. It also considers the role of specialist maternal mental health services (MMHS) in supporting this function.

The guide describes the underpinning principles of and good practice for supporting good mental health and psychological wellbeing in maternity and neonatal settings. It also outlines why this is important. It does not cover direct provision by primary care staff such as GPs and health visitors, except where this involves liaison with maternity staff.

The perinatal period is a time of major transition for women, partners and families. This can make them feel vulnerable and, at times, overwhelmed. Support from healthcare professionals has an enormous impact on psychological wellbeing and mental health. In line with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Mental Health Implementation Plan, this support involves “identifying needs and intervening at the earliest appropriate opportunity to reduce the likelihood of escalation and distress and support recovery”.

This document therefore focuses on prevention as much as intervention; in other words, how we minimise negative outcomes by helping women, their partners and families feel safe, while providing a ‘safety net’ of therapeutic support where this is needed.

For the full report please download the attachment.

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