News

Midwives call for more mental health funding for pregnant women and new mothers

There is an urgent need for mental healthcare funding for expectant and new mothers, say leading midwives.
Postnatal depression

There is an urgent need for more funding for mental healthcare for expectant and new mothers, say leading midwives.

The comments from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) come after a report claims services across the UK are under-resourced.

Researchers wrote the report following an online petition which gathered more than 55,000 signatures calling for the NHS to review how it treats and cares for women with postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression

The petition was set up by Lucie Holland, whose sister Emma Cadywould died after experiencing postnatal depression.

The report states that Ms Cadywould took her own life six months after giving birth to her first son despite having been under NHS-lead

There is an urgent need for more funding for mental healthcare for expectant and new mothers, say leading midwives.


The Royal College of Midwives advises that trusts with maternity services should have a specialist midwife to help mothers who are experiencing perinatal or postnatal depression. Picture: iStock

The comments from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) come after a report claims services across the UK are under-resourced.

Researchers wrote the report following an online petition which gathered more than 55,000 signatures calling for the NHS to review how it treats and cares for women with postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression

The petition was set up by Lucie Holland, whose sister Emma Cadywould died after experiencing postnatal depression.

The report states that Ms Cadywould took her own life six months after giving birth to her first son – despite having been under NHS-lead mental healthcare.

Her family urged health officials to look into the care of women with the condition, saying that if she had been referred to for specialist care she would have recovered.

In response to the poll, the RCM published a new report which analysed a number of comments left in response to the petition.

Maternal mental illness

Many people who commented on the poll shared personal experiences with perinatal depression.

The authors found that 42% of respondents to the Change.org petition had either directly experienced, or witnessed someone close experiencing maternal mental illness.

They state that the findings add to the body of evidence that maternal mental health is ‘under-resourced in terms of awareness and funding of services across the UK’.

RCM professional policy advisor Janet Fyle said: ‘The comments left on Lucie's petition speak of the devastation suffered by some women and their families.
More crucial is the fact that mental ill health continues to carry a stigma for most sufferers.

Specialist midwife

‘Every trust with maternity services should have a specialist midwife in post to enable women who are unwell to get the very best care and support they need.

‘The comments should also be the driving force behind how we organise and provide perinatal mental health services for all women across the UK irrespective of where they live.’

Commenting on the RCM report, an NHS England spokesperson said: ‘We know that caring for the mental health of new and expectant mums is equally as important as caring for their physical health, which is why we are investing in additional mental health services. This means an extra 30,000 women a year will receive specialised care by 2020-21 to give mothers and babies the best start in life.’


In other news

 

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs