Experiences of perinatal mental health support in Wokingham Borough

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Wokingham undertook research into peri-natal mental health as they were aware that mental health support for new parents does not always meet the needs of the local population.  They undertook a survey to which 67 people responded.  They also ran journaling workshops for a local group targeting mums at risk of poor mental health and visited a support group for parents with a baby in special care at the local hospital.

Nearly three quarters of people reported that their mental health had deteriorated in the perinatal period.  Nearly two in five felt worried or anxious a lot of the time.

Over two in five weren’t able to manage their mental health problems using NHS services available to them.  Just under a third experienced low mood or weren’t able to enjoy life.

People identified traumatic events during their pregnancy, birth or early parenthood and described how these affected their mental health.  Mothers often felt they couldn’t ask for help and didn’t feel that a conversation about mental health was genuinely wanted when health professionals initiated it.

The report contains 7 recommendations about improved access to services, better targeted help, increased availability of breastfeeding support, better integrated care, better staff training and comprehensive 6-week checks for all mothers.

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of perinatal mental health support in Wokingham Borough
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Wokingham
Date of publication 
Thursday, 7 January, 2021
Type of report 
Key themes 
Integration of services
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth
Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
New mothers

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.