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Perinatal Mental Health



The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) builds on the commitments outlined in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health to transform specialist Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) services across England.

The Perinatal Mental Health Programme within Yorkshire and the Humber Clinical Network supports delivery of these core clinical programmes by connecting mental health and maternity commissioners, providers, professionals, patients and the public across pathways of care with the aim of improving mental health outcomes.

Laura Ansboro

Clinical Network Manager

Anna Downward-Fletcher

Quality Improvement Manager

Nicola Hawkins

Quality Improvement Lead

Katy Morley

Clinical Lead

What We Are Trying To Achieve

Perinatal mental health refers to a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and up to 12 months after birth. This includes mental illness existing before pregnancy, as well as illnesses that develop for the first time, or are greatly exacerbated in the perinatal period. Perinatal mental health services offer ‘perinatal specific’ interventions.

The PMH Programme aims to:

  • Support improved service provision
  • Reduce regional variations in perinatal mental health care
  • Improve access and inequalities
  • Improve data collection and reporting
  • Improve training provision
  • Improve user experience
  • Supporting the Integrated Care Systems in achieving the following PMH LTP ambitions by 2023/24:
    • Access - Increasing access to specialist community PMH services to 66,000 women
    • 24 Months - Extending community services from preconception to 24 months after birth
    • Therapies - Expanding access to evidence-based psychological therapies within PMH services, including parent-infant, couple, co-parenting and family interventions.
    • Partners - Ensuring partners of women accessing specialist PMH services and MMHS receive evidence-based assessment of their mental health and are signposted to support as required
    • MMHS - Implementing Maternal Mental Health Services, that will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, the maternity experience.

Why It’s Important

Around one in four women experience mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 12 months after giving birth. If left untreated, mental health issues can have significant negative and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family. Therefore, the collective aim across the region is to fully support women and families to achieve the best outcomes by ensuring need is identified early, the correct support is in place locally and that the support is provided in a timely fashion.

The costs of undiagnosed or untreated PMH problems include avoidable suffering, damage to families, impact on children and death and serious injury (Maternal Mental Health Alliance). Additionally, the economic cost to society of not effectively treating perinatal mental illness far outweighs the cost of providing appropriate services.

What We Have Achieved In The Last 6 Months:

  • Surveyed women regarding experiences and perceptions of mental health questions asked by Midwives and Health Visitors and General Practitioners to highlight and learn from areas of good practice and identify any areas of improvement that may impact on prevention of PMH illness, awareness of PMH illness and access to PMH and MMHS services.
  • Surveyed NHS Talking Therapies services (formally IAPT) regarding provision in the Perinatal Period. A piece of bespoke work to establish the NHS Talking Therapies service provision for women and partners during the perinatal period with the aim of identifying unwarranted variation, positive practice and areas for development.
  • Organised a NEY advancing equality and inequity in the perinatal period webinar. To share learning and positive practice across the perinatal pathway, understand approaches to engaging with seldom heard communities across the perinatal pathway, understand our local population, communities and representation within our services and understand plans to address any identified gaps and shape services to make them more accessible.
  • Established a Yorkshire and the Humber Cultural Competencies Task and Finish Group. To scope training currently available and develop a PMH specific training resource/tools/session and to test and evaluate any training developed.
  • Organised a Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaboratives Shared Learning Event. The event included an update on the national ambitions aligned to Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Provider Collaboratives, national and regional speakers and learning and best practice examples shared from Phase 1 Provider Collaboratives and PMH Provider Collaboratives. It also provided an opportunity to discuss any ongoing challenges and provided networking opportunities for services across Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • Working with the Y&H Maternity Clinical Network, the data set for the maternity enhanced and critical care (MEaCC) pathway and maternal medicine pathway has been updated to include mental health conditions and referrals to PMH and MMHS.
  • Developed a Perinatal Mental Health and Maternal Mental Health Services relevant campaign calendar 23-24 Y&H CN PMH Awareness Calendar

Meetings and Events

  • Perinatal Mental Health Network Steering Group this meeting continues to meet quarterly, task and finish groups are set up as needed to support work that arises in line with the work plan.
  • PMH Community Service and Mother Baby Unit Learning Collaborative (bi-monthly)
  • PMH Commissioners Group (Quarterly)
  • PMH Midwives Learning Collaborative (Quarterly)
  • Membership of ICS PMH Meetings

What We Plan To Do In The Next 6 Months:

  • Host a series of sharing and learning webinars. E.g. provider collaboratives, cultural awareness.
  • Support the mobilisation of the Yorkshire and the Humber Perinatal Mental Health Provider Collaborative (Y&H PMH PC), Yorkshire and the Humber Clinical Network are providing interim programme support. This support includes preparation for 'go live' status of the Provider Collaborative, liaising with national and regional NHSE colleagues to ensure clear expectations and deliverables for all, stakeholder engagement across Y&H and establishing applicable project groups, and crucially support arrangements for co-production of the Provider Collaborative.
  • PMH Care Pathway Assessment. This will contribute to preparatory work for PMH Provider Collaboratives in identifying what is working well and where there are gaps or improvements that could be made.
  • Scoping options to deliver regional Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing and Video Interactive Guidance supervision for those working within PMH services. This work was identified as a priority by Y&H services.
  • Recruitment and retention of PMH practitioners - Working with PMH Service Leads and North East and Yorkshire Mental Health Workforce Lead. Surveyed B6 PMH Care Coordinators. To agree next steps collaboratively with B6 PMH Care Coordinators.

Local Services

The Clinical Network support 3 Integrated Care Systems:

  • South Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire
  • Humber Coast and Vale

Regional Mother and Baby Unit

The 6 Y&H Specialist PMH Community Services:

  • Bradford - Specialist Mother and Baby Mental Health service - Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale, Craven (bdct.nhs.uk) Tel: 01274 228300
  • Humber - Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership - RDaSH NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 01482 617735
  • Leeds - Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - Perinatal Service (leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk) Tel: 0113 8555505
  • North Yorkshire & York - Perinatal mental health service, adults, North Yorkshire and York - Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (tewv.nhs.uk) Tel: 01904 556724
  • Sheffield, Rotherham & Doncaster - Sheffield Rotherham and Doncaster Perinatal Mental Health Service | Sheffield Health and Social Care (shsc.nhs.uk) Tel: Sheffield: 0114 2716069. Rotherham: 01709 447070. Doncaster: 01302 566999
  • South West Yorkshire - Perinatal Mental Health Team - South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Tel: 01924 316009