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Friday 19 April 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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£443k funding announced to help Derbyshire mothers who are struggling with their mental health

NHS funding of £443,000 to extend and develop mental health care for mothers and mothers-to-be across Derby and Derbyshire has been announced.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded the money to extend the availability of its specialist perinatal mental health community services to more mothers experiencing mental health issues across Derbyshire, especially in the north of the county. More women will now be able to access high-quality interventions and support for themselves, their babies and families. The funding is part of Government plans to provide better services for new mothers experiencing mental health issues.

The Trust’s dedicated Perinatal Mental Health Services work with women during pregnancy who are experiencing psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, severe depressive disorder/postnatal depression and significant disorders of bonding. The services provide identification, diagnosis, assessment, care and treatment of women during pregnancy and the first postnatal year.

The NHS England funding will be used to expand the Trust’s existing specialist community teams with increased numbers of perinatal community psychiatric nurses, specialist consultant and perinatal nursery nurses.

The enhanced service in the northern area of Derbyshire will include access to perinatal psychology assessment and interventions currently only available via inpatient or community teams in southern Derbyshire. The increased staffing will also allow for more women to be seen at the point of need by specialist staff who understand the nature of risks associated with perinatal mental illness.

David Hurn, the Trust’s Acting General Manager - Central Services, said: “The enhanced service will help raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues to assist professionals to identify and seek specialist advice or refer to our dedicated service. Our goal is to improve health outcomes for women and babies through increased availability of specialist perinatal advice, assessment and direct interventions and support.

“Through this we will be able to support more Derbyshire women to access perinatal care and be seen at the point of referral with the right level of specialist input. This is an exciting development for our perinatal service and we look forward to enhancing and expanding the service across Derbyshire in coming months.”

Cheryl Sticka, manager of The Beeches specialist inpatient unit and the community perinatal service, said:  “The funding will ensure that women in the north of the county are able to access the same level of service as we offer in the south, with access to a psychologist and specialist nursery nurses.

“The successful bid is fantastic news as we are going to be able to work with women at the point of need, offering them quicker interventions and the chance to speak to a specialist worker with the necessary skills and knowledge to help them.

“It’s estimated that around one in five women experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. The kinds of perinatal mental health problems that women experience vary significantly, from depression to anxiety, from OCD to psychosis. What is common across the board, however, is that many mothers and mothers-to-be find it difficult to talk openly about what they are experiencing and how they are feeling.

 “However you are feeling, it's important to ask for help or support if you need it. You're likely to find that many new mothers are feeling the same way.”