Mental health support for pregnant women and new mums is set to receive a funding boost in twenty areas across the country, NHS England has said.
The funding will pay for more nurses and psychiatrists to provide specialist care for women in their homes and in maternity units, by giving advice on medication and lifestyle, counselling them and helping to minimise the risks to mother and baby if they become ill.
The money will also go towards providing buddy systems and telephone support from mothers who have had similar issues.
One in five women experiences severe depression or in some cases psychosis around the time of childbirth. Currently, fewer than 15% of localitiesprovide effective services for women with severe or complex perinatal mental health conditions, and more than 40% provide no service at all. The £40m-plan aims to help 30,000 more women by 2021.
Simon Stevens is expected to announce the news at the Mind conference on Tuesday. £40m is to be allocated to 20 areas of the country to fund new specialist community mental health services for mums in the immediate run up to and after birth, and help reach 30,000 more women a year by 2021. A further £20m will be allocated next year.
The funding will be used to pay for new perinatal consultants, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and nursery nurses as well as community peer support for mums, babies and families. Four new mother and baby units will also be commissioned.
Simon Stevens said: “For most parents having a baby is one of the happiest times of your life. But for tens of thousands of new mums, this experience is sadly overshadowed by severe pregnancy-related mental health problems. Now the NHS is taking concrete action to get these mothers and families the specialist mental health support they need.”