Today the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) has published maps showing that pregnant women and new mums in a quarter of the UK still cannot access lifesaving specialist perinatal mental health services which meet national guidelines. The maps show that in England 51% of areas are green (106 areas) on the map. This means specialist perinatal mental health services are available for women in that area. In Wales only 28% of areas have specialist perinatal mental health services available.
Commenting on the maps and statistics, Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said; “There have been improvements and we are making progress but there is still much, much more to be done. If half of England is getting the services needed this means half is not and this needs to change.
“This is so important because if women do not get the services they need, the consequences can be fatal.
“Our own report on maternal mental health published last summer highlighted the need for better services. The report was based on the comments of women, and what their needs were.
“As we said at the time, there is an urgent need for governments to invest more in services for women suffering with pregnancy related mental health problems. Every Trust with maternity services should have a specialist midwife in post to enable women who are unwell to get the very best care and support they need.
“These updated maps highlight again that our services are still a postcode lottery and are not as good as they should be. We need to see our governments and our NHS providing the very best perinatal mental health services for all women across the UK irrespective of where they live.”
The MMHA UK, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales maps can be seen on the MMHA website at http://www.maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/campaign/maps.
The RCM report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’ can be read on the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/briefings-and-reports.