More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby. If untreated, these perinatal mental illnesses can have a devastating impact on the women affected and their families. In the UK, mental illness in pregnant and postnatal women often goes unrecognised, undiagnosed and untreated.
Our map shows just how patchy the current provision of services is. This means a postcode lottery determines whether women receive the care they need or not.
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s new campaign – Everyone’s Business – calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.
We must ACT
To make sure women receive the perinatal mental health care they need, we must ensure the following:
- Accountability for perinatal mental health care is clearly set at a national level and complied with.
- Community specialist perinatal mental health services meeting national quality standards are available for women in every area of the UK.
- Training in perinatal mental health is delivered to all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and the first year after birth.
We need your support
It is clear everyone who comes into contact with women during pregnancy and their first postnatal year can play a role in tackling perinatal mental illness. You can make yourself more aware of perinatal mental illnesses and how to support women and their families who are affected by them. Take a look at our Essential reading section to find out more. We also call on health providers and commissioners of services to ensure access to specialist perinatal mental health care. See our recommendations, helpful tools and links.
The terms perinatal and maternal are often used interchangeably. But to avoid any confusion, we use the term perinatal when describing the mental illnesses that this campaign focuses on. Peri is the Latin for “around”, and natal is the Latin for “birth”. So perinatal mental illness refers to mental illness during pregnancy and one year after birth.
Official contributors in kind
Official contributions in kind from the Department of Health in England