Northamptonshire becomes one of ten places in England to pilot new maternal mental health service

This new service will provide support to women experiencing mental health problems relating to the birth experience.

By Megan Hillery
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 4:35 pm

Northamptonshire will be one of ten locations in the country to pilot a new maternal mental health service this spring.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) will be providing this new service that aims to support women experiencing mental health conditions relating to the birth experience. This includes birth trauma, fear of childbirth - known as tokophobia - or pregnancy loss (still birth, miscarriage or neonatal death).

The support will be given in the form of assessments and specialist psychological interventions during the trial as part of the NHS Long Term Plan on a pilot site throughout 2021 and 2022.

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The new maternal mental health service will mobilise in the spring.

Service Manager for Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service at NHFT, Carly Galpin, said: “It is great news that Northamptonshire has been selected as one of ten pilot locations in the country to deliver the new Maternal Mental Health Service.

“The new service will help to bridge the gap for this group of women who are experiencing mental health difficulties and are not currently receiving access to the specialist psychological therapy that they require, which is likely to benefit them during this period.”

The Maternal Mental Health Service (MMHS) will be working alongside maternity and obstetric services to provide specialist support to approximately 90 women and their families through individual and group therapy.

MMHS will work closely alongside NHFT’s specialist perinatal mental health service, which offers treatment for women who are experiencing or are at an increased chance of experiencing bad mental health during pregnancy and up to one year after birth - known as the perinatal period.

The roll out of this new service aims to bridge the long-standing gap in provision between primary care and community perinatal mental health services. The goal of the NHS Long Term Plan is to fill this gap across all areas of England by 2024 at the latest.

Chair of the Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS), Alison Gilbert, said: “This is such an important opportunity for the women across Northamptonshire who need our support and this pilot is very much welcomed.”

This service will launch in the spring, allowing women and people of childbearing capacity in Northamptonshire to refer to the service via their GP, midwife or health professional during their pregnancy.