NHS England has announced that specialist mental health care for new and expectant mothers is now available across the whole of England.
This means that mums and mums-to-be who are experiencing anxiety, depression or other forms of mental ill health should now be able to access high quality care much closer to home.
In addition, four new mother and baby units have also opened, which mean that the most seriously ill women can receive residential care without being separated from their babies in every region.
Responding to the announcement, National Director of Healthwatch England, Imelda Redmond said:
“To ensure every child is given the best start in life, it is vital that new and expectant mums and dads get the help they need when it comes to their mental wellbeing.
“Over the last few months Healthwatch has spoken with nearly 3,500 new parents about their experiences of mental health support, and through their stories it is clear just how welcome the additional investment and focus from the NHS will be.
“Some big steps have been made in making sure services are available in every part of the country, and more women are being helped than ever before. But from the comments we have received it is clear there is still more to do around the consistency and quality of care.
“People have also stressed the need for the NHS to do more to spot those who may be struggling with their mental health and proactively engage them in these new services. In particular they want more proactive help for partners, with support focusing around the needs of the whole family.
“Later in the year we will be reporting in more detail what parents have been telling us, and will be working with policymakers and professionals to build on the NHS’s impressive efforts to date.”