Humber, Coast and Vale chosen to pilot new maternal mental health service

Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership has been selected as one of only 10 areas in England to develop a pilot maternal mental health service – which will help an estimated 300 women in the region who have previously not been eligible for specialist mental health support.

The HCV Partnership has secured funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement worth £500,000 to develop a maternal mental health service in the region by spring to help women without children with a fear of childbirth (tokophobia), women with a birth-related post-traumatic stress disorder, women who have had a miscarriage or still-birth and women who have experienced having a baby removed at birth.

The funding has been secured by the HCV Partnership, which consists of NHS organisations, local councils, health and care providers and voluntary and community organisations who are working together to improve the health and wellbeing of the 1.7 million people living in Humber, Coast and Vale – an area which includes the cities of Hull and York and large rural areas across East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

Together the HCV Partnership has been awarded two separate and substantial amounts of funding to support the development of the service, alongside the necessary research to determine the number women who will be able to directly benefit from this additional level of specialist care. £500k of funding has been awarded for the pilot and a further £300k for the scoping and research element of the work.

Amina Bristow, Perinatal Mental Health Programme Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, said: “There has been an acknowledged gap in care for women with medium to severe mental health issues relating to pregnancy and birth who do not have a baby. We are delighted that Humber, Coast and Vale, working with our local specialist health providers, will soon be able to provide this much needed mental health service and to close that gap.

“The service will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to the maternity experience. Being awarded funding for both on-going research and service provision will greatly enhance our knowledge and understanding of this specialist area of mental health care, and bring much-needed psychological support and therapy to women across the region.”

The Maternity and Mental Health Service will be provided by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, NAViGO, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation NHS Trust, and will see increased access to psychological support and therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, their maternity experience.

Claire Marshall, Specialist Nurse and Clinical Lead at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, one of the Maternity and Mental Health Service providers, said: “The funding will enable all the providers to develop services for those who have previously been excluded from specialist perinatal mental health services. The new service will build on existing work by targeting women and families who are experiencing severe anxiety, trauma and loss, in relation to their maternity or neonatal experiences. We feel privileged to be playing a key part in this critical work and the development of a specialist service.”

The Maternity and Mental Health Service, which links to the mental health aims of the NHS Long Term Plan, will launch in spring with the aim of providing the service on a permanent basis from 2023.

The University of Hull will work with the HCV Partnership to undertake important scoping work to determine the number women who will be able to benefit from the Maternity and Mental Health Service. The university will also help the Partnership to better understand the current services available to these women and any previous experiences of services, and to identify gaps in provision and local health inequalities.

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