Based on a survey of over 2300 women who had given birth in the last five years, the report has found that despite as many as one in five women developing a mental health problem during or within a year of pregnancy, in almost half of the UK pregnant women and new mothers have no access to specialist community perinatal mental health services.
Low rates of referral, long waits, regional variation of care, a lack of continuity of care, misunderstanding and stigma were just some of the problems highlighted.
Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind, said:
“As part of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), we welcome this report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) which highlights the high prevalence of perinatal mental health problems in the UK, and the huge variation in access to quality services and advice. Despite maternal mental health problems affecting so many new parents, too often people aren’t able to access the specialist services they need.
“What is particularly concerning is the number of pregnant women reporting that they were given conflicting and inconsistent advice about whether or not to continue, reduce, stop or change their medication. If you’re taking medication such as antidepressants and are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a family, it’s best to seek advice from your GP as soon as you can. Mind’s website also has lots of helpful information on postnatal depression and perinatal mental health. We support the report’s recommendations to better support women who might be experiencing maternal mental health problems in terms of timely assessments and treatment, and providing clear, consistent information should be a key part of this.”
Public Mental Health