New parents experiencing perinatal mental health problems are set to benefit from improved support from local services.
An action plan is being drawn up to improve signposting to where pregnant women, new mums and dads can get help and additional support, following a meeting last week with health bodies across the borough.
Perinatal mental health problems are issues that occur during pregnancy and the first 12 months following childbirth. It could be a pre-existing condition, occur for the first time or be exacerbated by pregnancy and it is estimated one in five women and one in 10 men are affected.
Croydon’s existing perinatal mental health team has been boosted by additional funds from the Government. The need to better streamline how services work together to identify those most at risk of perinatal mental health problems was also among the areas identified for the plan.
The meeting, organised by Croydon Council’s public health team, follows Croydon’s Director of Public Health’s report on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. The report made four key recommendations including a call to join up the maternal mental health care pathways in the community, primary care, midwifery, health visiting services and other partners.
Croydon’s health, maternity and health visiting services, Healthwatch Croydon, Parents Infant Partnership (PIP) UK, GP Primary Care and SLAM, were among those who attended.
The action plan will also focus on how families’ health, social and economic circumstances, such as employment and housing, impact on their wellbeing. This move will help to more easily identify those most at risk and target the wraparound services needed to support them.
“I would like to thank the council’s public health team for bringing together health, maternity, health visiting and children’s services and others to address and tackle perinatal mental health care for local mums and dads. The much needed funding injection into mental health services across the board means that more people can be referred for help early on, which may prevent further issues arising in their health and the health of their child.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
There are approximately 6,000 births in Croydon every year. Research suggests that one in two women with postnatal depression are recognised by services, but only one in eight receive adequate treatment.
If unaddressed, postnatal depression can have a lasting impact on the parent’s relationships, employment and education, as well as the future emotional, behavioural and educational development of their children.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon Council’s Director of Public Health: “Perinatal mental health problems are largely preventable with timely treatment and support. This cross-borough meeting demonstrated the collaboration and commitment between all local agencies on the need for us to continue to identify and address the many complex challenges in this area.”