After successfully obtaining additional funding from NHS England, the Perinatal Mental Health Service has expanded significantly and is now able to offer a more enhanced service across Cornwall.
Mandy Raywood, Specialist Perinatal Team Leader said, “Our target group are women who have a significant mental illness or been identified as at risk of developing one during their perinatal period. This period covers pregnancy up to the baby’s first birthday and includes women who have bipolar disorder, puerperal or postpartum psychosis, schizophrenia and significant depression and anxiety.
Mandy added, “We offer pre-conceptual advice to women in this group who are considering having a baby. This includes consideration of risk factors; the treatments available, medications, a care pathway and a crisis and contingency plan that could be put in place should the mum have a relapse around the time of having a baby. This then enables the woman to make an informed choice about her pregnancy.”
Most referrals come from midwives who ask about mental ill health when women are registering their pregnancies. The team focuses on wellbeing and things that will help mum to stay well during her pregnancy and post-natal period.
For mums who have been identified as being in need of more help, the service offers a consultant appointment, psychiatric medication advice in pregnancy and breastfeeding, specialist psychological interventions, attachment based interventions to support the relationship between mum and baby, and birth planning. Birth planning entails drawing services together later in pregnancy to develop a care plan accommodating the mum’s mental health needs around the time of delivery and immediate post-natal period.
The care plan is then placed in the mum’s maternity records and shared with all professionals involved in providing care, the midwife, health visitor and GP. Partners and extended family members are also included wherever possible throughout the services involvement.
The service also has a dedicated group of peer supporters who have experienced significant perinatal mental health problems and are involved in developing the perinatal services further. They have been involved in recruiting staff and providing training for professionals, they also run peer support groups in the St Austell area.
The perinatal team recently celebrated the expansion of their team by organising a successful re-launch event to promote their services. This was held at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and was attended by clinicians and experts in the perinatal field who were available to offer advice and guidance to visitors.
To find out more about the perinatal service or to speak to a member of the Perinatal Mental Health Team please call (01872) 221031 in office hours.
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