Service user experiences of perinatal mental health services in CroydonDownload (PDF 1.32MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Croydon investigated 77 new mothers and their partners' experiences of around a number of maternity, pregnancy care related areas using a survey. Healthcare professionals were also spoken to, to gather their views on perinatal mental health services.
It was found that there is a lack of signposting and information within the pathway as many fo not know where to go for support. There is not enough continuity of care but appropriate support at the right time makes a difference to carer's and patient's experience. Respondents highlighted an appreciation for staff who were under pressure and strained. Although, patients often experienced embarrassment and stigma when talking about their mental health challenges. There is a lack of consideration about mental health within maternity services. More than 60% of service users are facing emotional and mental health challenges. Service users have a lack of knowledge and understanding of how childbirth will or might affect emotional and mental health wellbeing.
A number of recommendations were made including that there needs to be increased signposting and information for new parents; increased continuity of care with more collaboration between the various services involved in the pathway; facilitate mental health education; scop a new pathway for those with mental health challenges; recruit more staff to reduce the staff pressures; increase support networks, such as the local children's centres; and communicate effectively the mental health challenges that can be faced by new parents.
Service provider responses are detailed in the report.