Solihull women can benefit from new pregnancy related mental health services - The Solihull Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

Solihull women can benefit from new pregnancy related mental health services

WOMEN in Solihull who experience pregnancy related mental illness can now benefit from a new community perinatal mental health service.

In the Solihull and Birmingham region, the new resource will be available to assist anyone who suffers perinatal mental health issues – those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child.

And an additional £1.13million has been secured to enhance the services provided at Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals.

Designed and delivered by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWCFT), the new community perinatal service forms part of Birmingham and Solihull United Maternity and Newborn Partnership (Bump).

Bump’s focus is transforming services across the region and has a particular focus on mental health of mums, and mums-to-be.

BSMHFT says the new service aims to provide better outcomes for women, their families and their babies.

The team of specialist mental health professionals ensures women have timely access to pre-conception advice, early assessment in pregnancy and care planning into the postnatal period from highly trained, specialist perinatal mental health staff.

The new perinatal service began in early last year and has so far supported over 245 women who have given birth at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

At a community perinatal event held in Birmingham last month, one mum, who wishes to be known as Kate, said: “At 30 weeks pregnant, my mental health deteriorated drastically.

“The excellent work of psychiatrists, clinical nurse practitioners and their partnership liaison with obstetric consultants and midwives meant that I was able to be closely monitored until the birth of my baby.

“The care that was provided to me during this difficult time took great pressure off my husband, who was able to take care of our other children.

“Outstanding communication between all departments involved in my care meant that I remained safe and cared for during my pregnancy and in the year after the arrival of my baby.”

John Short, chief executive at BSMHFT, said: “Perinatal services in Birmingham were established over 30 years ago to provide care as support to women at risk of significant mental ill health during pregnancy, or in the first year following the birth of a child.

“We have always had a strong working partnership with Birmingham Women’s Hospital to ensure that the physical and mental health needs of women and their families were being met.”

Dr Mukesh Bhardwaj, clinical director for children, young people and maternity at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group and a local GP, added: “We are delighted to have helped secure this funding, so that we can continue to strengthen the services on offer to women and their families in Birmingham and Solihull, ensuring they are able to access the right support, at the right time.”

Aimee, a mum who has used, and has been involved in the development of, the new community perinatal service, added: “Access to specialist support from the Psychiatrist made me feel safe and able to get better.

“The range of support was great; as my situation changed they adapted the service to my needs. I’ve been able to use a difficult time to make some positive changes, making my whole family happier.”

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