The Perinatal Mental Health Service of South West London and St George’s Mental NHS Trust have been praised by Richmond MP Sarah Olney for the work it does to support new mothers struggling with their mental health.
Sarah said she was extremely pleased that the service has been able to continue to support women through the Covid-19 pandemic during a debate in the Backbench Business Committee on “Give Every Baby the Best Start in Life” in the House of Commons on Tuesday on November 9th.
Sarah Olney’s comments followed a meeting with Akvinder Bola-Emerson, the clinical service manager for the foundation’s perinatal mental health service on Monday, October 11th.
Sarah said: “I was privileged to visit Springfield University Hospital in Tooting recently to meet the perinatal psychiatry team for South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. I was very pleased to hear about the work the Foundation is doing for successfully supporting new mothers struggling with their mental health, and in particular that it was able to maintain its services during the lockdown and after.
“Ms Bola-Emerson, the clinical director of perinatal psychiatry, stressed in particular the need for peer support, but also the importance of health care providers, whom she described as the” eyes and ears “of perinatal mental health services.”
The perinatal mental health service is a special offer in psychiatry for people who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have a baby up to 12 months. The team consists of various professionals, including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and related health professionals such as occupational therapists, social workers and crèche nurses.
Sarah continued: “The visit emphasized to me that we also need better support for new and future fathers. Currently, only mothers can be formally diagnosed with a perinatal mental health problem. Springfield provides services to fathers, but it is currently only able to identify mental health issues in fathers when accompanying a mother who goes to the hospital for perinatal mental health issues. “
Women’s Bola-Emerson said: “It was a pleasure to meet Sarah and share with her the specialist work that the perinatal team provides to support mothers struggling with their mental health. Up to 20% of new or expectant mothers experience mental illness health during pregnancy or after childbirth, which is why it is so important to ensure that they receive the right support.If they are not treated, mental health problems can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child and the wider family.
“Our specialized perinatal mental health service provides care and treatment for women with complex mental health needs and helps support the developing relationship they have with their baby. We also offer women with mental health advice advice to plan a pregnancy. We aim to help and support women to become as good as possible during pregnancy and after childbirth by ensuring that they, their partners and family have access to the expert advice, support and treatment they need. ”