During Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (4-10 May) we want to celebrate and congratulate all the people welcoming new babies at the moment. We also want let you know that help is still at hand during the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you are struggling with your mental health, whether it’s a longstanding problem or the very first time you’re feeling this way, it’s okay to say “I’m not okay”. You are not alone – one in five women experience a perinatal mental health problem – and there is still support available.
Becoming a parent can be difficult at the best of times. COVID-19 has added extra stresses; you might not able to enjoy all the things you had planned, and be missing spending time with family and friends. You are probably seeing less of your care team too, which can make it even harder to tell someone that you are struggling.
The NHS in England has a special pathway of care to make sure that new parents get the right support, from the right service, at the right time. We want to reassure you that these services are still here for you despite the pandemic. You might get mental health support from your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor, services such as Talking Therapies (for moderate mental health problems), or more specialist services such as our Perinatal Mental Health Teams across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Cumbria.
Talking Therapies (also known as IAPT) services are for all adults, but prioritise women who are pregnant or new mums. They offer a range of options to help you overcome common mental health problems like anxiety and depression. You can contact them yourself to ask for help. Use the NHS website to find your local service and make a self-referral.
Perinatal Community Mental Health Teams work with women who have a range of moderate to severe mental health problems during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. You can read more about our service here, but in a nutshell we can work with you towards recovery, and support your relationship with your child during that journey.
One mother recently discharged from the Perinatal Community Mental Health Team shared her experience of the service with us, saying she wanted to encourage others to seek help:
If you are pregnant or a new mother and are worried about your mental health, please speak to your GP who will help you to access the support that you need. Whatever you are experiencing, there is a service which can support you and your baby, and we are all still here during the pandemic.
– The CNTW Perinatal Community Mental Health Team