Mums, babies and NHS staff gathered to celebrate the official launch of a service offering support to new mums across Sussex experiencing mental health problems.
Families currently receiving support joined members of the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service (SPMHS), NHS commissioners and partners from the charity sector for the event on Wednesday, March 14.
Run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, SPMHS is a community-based service for mums experiencing severe mental health difficulties during pregnancy or up to a year after birth. The team also supports expectant mothers who are currently well but have experienced mental health difficulties in the past.
The service comprises four teams of mental health professionals from a range of backgrounds including psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, parent-infant psychotherapists and nursery nurses. It offers face to face clinics at a range of different locations across Sussex, including in the family home, and fathers and partners are encouraged to attend the appointments.
Anna was referred to the service after the premature birth of her first child. She said: “The nurses at the hospital had realised that something wasn’t quite right and I was referred for specialist mental health help. The support I received was fantastic. I was visited at home by the mental health rapid response service and they came to see me every day. At the same time the perinatal team visited me at home. They were amazing.
“My doctor helped me come to terms with the fact that I was now a mum and that my daughter was premature. She helped me realise the importance of self-care and self-compassion. It’s so important to talk to someone and let them know if you’re struggling.”
The event also saw the premiere of a new short film, explaining more about the service. It can be viewed at www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/perinatal.