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Enhanced mental health services for mums

Nearly £280,000 will fund enhanced specialist community mental health services for mums ​
Funding to provide increased support for pregnant women and new mums suffering mental illness has been welcomed.

South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will receive nearly £280,000 to fund specialist community mental health services for mums in the immediate run up to birth and after.

It is the result of the CCG’s successful joint bid with NEW Devon CCG, Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Livewell Southwest – with £2million being shared across the county.

The money will fund new perinatal consultants, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and nursery nurses, as well as community peer support for mums, babies and families. 

There will also be more buddying and telephone support, with mums who have had experience of similar issues able to help other mums in need.

South Devon and Torbay already has a successful perinatal service, helping hundreds of women, and the additional funding will increase the amount of professional assistance it can provide.

Dr Andy Haytread, South Devon and Torbay CCG’s clinical lead for adult mental health, said: “Many new mothers feel guilty and ashamed about feeling low at what should be a happy time in their life, and in some cases problems can be severe and might even pose a risk to the wellbeing of mother and child.

“We and our partner organisations have worked hard to ensure the perinatal mental health services in South Devon and Torbay go a long way towards combatting this, providing support and evidence-based interventions to pregnant women with mental health and emotional problems.

“There has been a significant number of women who’ve been helped by the perinatal mental health service and, as a result, women are being seen quicker and they’re getting the right treatment when they need it. We therefore welcome this investment to further enhance the service.”

Dr Jo Black leads the perinatal mental health services for Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services across Devon and Torbay.

Dr Black said: “This investment will mean additional staff for our very successful specialist perinatal mental health teams, which are based at the acute hospitals in Torbay, Exeter and Barnstaple. 

“These teams work very closely alongside their maternity and midwifery colleagues and provide an invaluable service for women and their families.”

The Government announced that 20 areas of the UK will receive a share of £40million to fund perinatal services, helping to reach 30,000 more women a year by 2021.