A quarter of pregnant women and new mums in the UK cannot access lifesaving specialist perinatal mental health services due to a postcode lottery, say the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
Pregnant women and new mums in 24% of the UK still have no access to specialist perinatal mental health services, according to new data.
While many more women now live in an area coloured green on Maternal Mental Health Alliance map, meaning specialist perinatal mental health services are available in their locality, it is unacceptable that so many women and their families still cannot access essential care.
Kirsten, a mum from Peterborough, said: “In my first pregnancy, OCD led to all-consuming terror and to feeling like I couldn’t go on. I told 11 different professionals. I felt desperate, exhausted and invisible. In my second pregnancy I received coordinated services: medication, supportive frequent visits from specialist perinatal mental health staff and talking therapies. Completely life-changing for our family.”
Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said: “Over ten years ago national guidelines said that specialist perinatal mental health services should be available for all women who need them. This still hasn’t happened. We want to celebrate the new perinatal services that have been set up, but these maps show that there is still an urgent need for change on the ground. For women and families to be able to access specialist services, we need to see funding across all four nations of the UK. The job is not yet done. Women and families across the UK need this map to turn green.”