The proposed integrated model of care would include dedicated maternal mental health training for health visitors and midwives as well as greater collaboration with other health care services.
Responding to the news, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“Pregnant women and new mums experiencing mental health problems can often find it difficult accessing the treatment and care they need. Mental health has been highlighted as one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the UK and it is vital women’s mental health is given the same priority as their physical health. The RCOG welcomes this suggested new model of care which aims to offer more support for women who experience mental health problems during or after pregnancy.
“At the moment, many women can’t access support because while they might be struggling with stress, anxiety or depression, they don’t meet the threshold for specialist care. This report by MMHA suggests how midwives and health visitors could identify any women struggling with mental health problems during and after birth by assessing women’s mental wellbeing at every routine appointment and offering suitable treatment if necessary.
“This new pathway would lead to huge savings for the NHS, along with making sure more women receive the right care and support.
“This proposed integrated model of care should be developed to reduce and remove inequalities that currently exist in maternity care, and we will work with MMHA to ensure that these services are developed in an equitable way which is coordinated within existing care.”
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