As part of today’s (3 May 2023) World Maternal Mental Health Day, West London NHS Trust’s perinatal service has launched a campaign to women aged 18 to 44 in Ealing with the ‘You’re not alone’ message. It aims to let women know that mental health support for them during pregnancy, pre-pregnancy, and eighteen months after birth is available.
According to the Trust, as many as one in five birthing parents experience mental health problems during this time.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the perinatal service the Trust offers to its London borough residents including Ealing, as well as Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham.
West London NHS Trust says its perinatal service is provided by healthcare workers who are experienced in mental health, offering support and treatments for women who are having mental health problems when they are pregnant, or after they have had their baby.
It aims to see 10 percent of the local birth population but last year only 9.2 percent were seen. The Trust says it wants to better improve how it gets referrals and to ensure that women know about it earlier rather than finding out at a late stage.
Honey Attridge, an Expert by Experience (EBE) and service user said: “There is a perception around motherhood and women are meant to conform to it despite how you may be feeling. No one prepares you for the feelings you may experience, the loneliness and all too often not feeling you can speak up. It highlights the importance of perinatal mental health quite often being overlooked and the difference awareness and a robust support system can make.”
Ms Attridge added: “Luckily I received help from the Perinatal mental health team, and I am so incredibly grateful.”
Dr Sarah Taha, consultant perinatal psychiatrist H&F Perinatal Mental Health Team said: “We want people to know that specialist mental health support is available to them during pregnancy and after they have a baby. They can access this support by talking to a health professional or referring themselves to our service.”
Dr Taha added: “Good perinatal mental health is crucial in ensuring the health and wellbeing of both the birthing parent and the baby. There are many complex factors that influence our mental health. One size does not fit all, and you are the expert on you – if you don’t feel ‘right,’ tell someone.” We know it’s hard but struggling in silence is harder – there are plenty of treatments and therapies that can help. You are not alone.”
For details on West London NHS Trust perinatal mental health service, click here.