Expansion of Specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Service

An expanding specialist mental health service to help women during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood is now available in the North East.

The Perinatal Community Mental Health Team which is part of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and disability services, is a community service which provides secondary care for women who are experiencing mental health problems within the perinatal period.

The service is now working into Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Gateshead, and will be moving into South Tyneside and Sunderland in the autumn.

Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director for NHS England officially opened the new service on Friday 27 April.

It has been a privilege and pleasure to open this amazing service, which is an exemplar of what we want to achieve nationally.  Our national plan is to see services like this one open everywhere in the country. Hearing some of the lived experience stories has really touched me deeply.  Women and families from this area will be able to access treatment and support from this specialist service knowing that they are in expert hands

Claire MurdochNational Mental Health Director for NHS England

The service which has a whole family approach, offers care and support for women with a range of moderate to severe common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis.  Referrals can be made via your midwife, obstetrician, health visitor, GP or by the Specialist Mental Health Service.

Dr Andrew Cairns, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the NTW Perinatal Mental Health Service said: “Our team are delighted to be offering an improved service, with new access to psychology and occupational therapy, to women across the whole of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.  This will enable us to help teams across the country meet the expectation that 30,000 more women will be able to access such specialist services by 2021”.

During pregnancy, birth and early motherhood, 20% of women will have a mental health problem, 5% will require a specialist services.  The Service supports the Perinatal Mental Health Pathway in line with the local maternity system.   The service will ensure those women requiring care and treatment have access to specialist care. This will equate to 1000 plus referrals per annum.

Maternal mental ill health costs the UK £8.1 billion for every annual cohort of births, this equates to £10,000 per birth. 72% of this cost is borne by the child throughout their lifespan (this includes the impact on physical/mental health, education, employment etc.).