Help for mothers in the spotlight on maternal mental health awareness week

Help is at hand for mothers experiencing low mood or other mental health problems during or following pregnancy.

Help for mothers in the spotlight on maternal mental health awareness week

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can develop at any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth and so Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is taking the opportunity during Maternal Mental Health week to highlight the help it and other organisations provide.

Maternal mental health is a week long campaign from 3 – 9 May dedicated to talking about mental health problems during and after pregnancy.

Oxford Health has two perinatal teams based in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire which provide assessment and treatment for women with complex and severe mental health problems during and after pregnancy.

Joseph Madamombe, Bucks perinatal team manager, said: “It’s really important to be able to offer this support to women during and after pregnancy.

“Up to one in five women are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year after birth, so being part of a team that can have a positive impact on this is so important.

“If left untreated in the long term negative mental health problems can have long-lasting consequences on not only women, but their partners and children too.

“We aim to improve this experience by being involved as early on in the process to reduce the detrimental mental health effects and improve overall wellbeing for mums.”

Maternal mental health can include a range of problems such as antenatal and postnatal depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum psychosis. These can often occur quickly and can range from mild to severe.

All babies and children rely on their parents for practical and emotional support and when a parent becomes mentally ill it can sometimes result in the parent finding it difficult to look after their children effectively and may require additional support from services or other family members.

Raising awareness this year is probably more pertinent than ever due to the impact of the pandemic and government-imposed restrictions as identified in the report findings from Maternal mental health during a pandemic. (Link below)

If you or someone you know is struggling and needs additional support then visit one of the following websites for helpful information and resources:

Oxfordshire Perinatal Service – Oxford Health

Buckinghamshire Perinatal Service – Oxford Health

World Maternal Mental Health – Postnatal depression and perinatal mental health

Maternal Mental Health Alliance – mental health in a pandemic (Report) learning – parental mental health problems

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Published: 7 May 2021