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.