Perinatal Community Mental Health Team – North Cumbria

The Community Perinatal Team provide mental health support to women experiencing mental health difficulties related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

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  • Introduction

    This leaflet provides information that you may find useful during your time with our service. If you are unsure about anything in this leaflet, please ask a member of staff.

  • What is the Perinatal Community Mental Health Team?

    The Perinatal Team provides a community service to support women experiencing mental health difficulties related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. We also work to minimise the risk of relapse in those women who are currently well but who have a history of severe mental illness.

  • Why do we need a Perinatal Community Mental Health Team?

    It is very normal for 50-80% of women to experience the ‘Baby Blues’ at around 3-5 days following delivery. This often resolves quickly and without support or help from professional services.

    Approximately 10%-15% of women suffer from postnatal depression which often starts within the first three months after they have given birth. Postnatal anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are also extremely common. Some of the most common symptoms are low mood and sadness, loss of interest and pleasure, tiredness and low energy, poor sleep, appetite and concentration as well as guilt or self-blame. Without support and treatment these symptoms can worsen or fail to improve. This can impact on the woman’s confidence with childcare, daily functioning and relationships within the family. Many of the women who experience these illnesses can be successfully treated by their local Primary Care or Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, however, those women whose level of illness is causing a significant reduction in their level of functioning or are experiencing suicidal thoughts may need to be supported within our service. This is something we will look at together at your assessment.

    Just 1-2 women in every 1,000 deliveries experience a more serious condition called postnatal psychosis which often, but not always, requires hospitalisation.

  • Who works in the team?

    The service is currently delivered by a range of community professionals including:

    • Perinatal Psychiatric Nurses
    • Occupational Therapists
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrists
    • Peer Support Worker
    • Nursery Nurses
    • Administrative support

    We are an experienced team, specialising in perinatal mental health. Sometimes we have students from a range of differing mental health backgrounds working with us.

    The team is available Monday – Friday, 9am–5pm, except bank holidays.

  • Who does the team see?

    We support women living in North Cumbria who are either pregnant or up to one year postnatal and who have been suffering from depression and/or anxiety or other significant mental health difficulties as a direct result of their current or previous pregnancy.

  • What will happen when I am referred?

    Your doctor, health visitor, midwife or other professional who works with you may have suggested that the team could provide specialist help and have referred you to our service.

    Most commonly, a Community Psychiatric Nurse will phone you to arrange a convenient appointment. If we are unable to contact you we will send you out an appointment in the post. In some cases, it may be felt more appropriate for an initial assessment to be made by a Psychiatrist and you will be sent an appointment at an outpatient clinic.

    If you feel you no longer require this appointment it would be really helpful if you would let us know so that we can offer your appointment to somebody else. If you wish, we can arrange to meet you at a different location, e.g. your doctor’s surgery. This appointment will last about an hour and is an opportunity for you to discuss your current difficulties. If you feel it would be helpful a friend or relative can be with you for this appointment.

    At this first appointment we will gather information about what your current difficulties are, along with some background information in order to come to a joint understanding of what may help you recover.

  • How can the team help me?

    You will be part of any discussions we make as to what type of support is best for you. If it is decided that the Perinatal Team is the best source of support for you, we will arrange for a worker to be allocated to work with you. This team member will become your Care Co-ordinator. They will offer you a further appointment and work with you to agree a care plan to help meet your individual needs. We hope to help you understand your current mental health difficulties and find solutions to support you on your road to recovery. Your Care Co-ordinator will also keep in contact with other professionals involved in your care.

    We have a range of interventions to help you on your road to recovery:
    • Pre-conceptual counselling for women with a history of serious mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and psychosis and who are considering becoming a parent.
    • Specialist perinatal advice, treatment and management of your illness and any medication you may take during pregnancy and into the post-partum period including considerations should you need medication and are wanting to breastfeed from our medical team.
    • Specialist perinatal community psychiatric nurses can offer a range of interventions to help you to understand your mental health difficulties and support you.
    • All members of the team can help support you building a relationship with your baby and we have specialist nursery nurses who can offer 1:1 sessions and group work to promote attachment and support with you adjusting to becoming a parent.
    • Peer support workers, are members of our team, who have experienced their own emotional distress and who have accessed services in the past. They are able to share their own lived experience and recovery methods to help you understand and manage the way you are feeling. They also run group sessions.
    • Many of our staff have specialist training in a range of therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy; Eye Movement Desensitisation and Processing Therapy and mindfulness.
    • Specialist clinical psychologists offer individual assessment and therapy.

  • Information the Trust keeps about you

    Everything you tell the team member and the information we keep about you is kept confidential within the team of professionals caring for you. The only exception to this would be if we felt there was a risk to yourself or to others, but we would discuss this with you.

    You have a right to see any records we keep about you including the information on computer.
    Staff will give you a copy of the ‘Information that the Trust keeps about you’ leaflet, copies are also available from the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288.

    At your first appointment you will be given the choice of receiving copies of letters written by healthcare professionals about your care and we will ask you to sign a consent form for sharing information.

  • Can my family and friends who support me get involved in my care?

    With your permission as part of our care we would like to offer an initial visit to get to know your partner and/or family and friends who are involved in supporting you to see if we can answer any questions or queries they may have about our service or your care. We will discuss this with you at your initial assessment appointment.

    What should I do if I don’t understand or have a problem – perhaps I have missed and appointment? Please don’t be afraid to give us a ring on 01228 602 099.

  • What if I need help out of hours?

    If you need help urgently outside the hours of the Perinatal Community Mental Health Team please call your doctor or your local Crisis Team (see numbers below). Your Care Co-ordinator will complete a contingency plan around any difficulties you may experience out of hours.

    There are some helplines and organisations that can give you advice and support:
    • Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) – Tel: 0203 322 9900
    Email: [email protected]
    • Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Service – Tel: 0800 652 2865 (freephone number)
    • Maternal OCD Matters support group
    • The Samaritans – 116 123
    Email: [email protected]
    Next Generation Text (NGT) Service (for the deaf and hard of hearing): also via 116 123
    • NHS 111 – 111
    • SANEline – Tel: 78984 967 708
    Email: [email protected]

  • Preparing for discharge

    When your mental health is getting better we will begin to prepare you for staying well in the future with a recovery action plan and your moving on from our service. Sometimes this can be a discharge back to your GP at other times you may need to have further support from another service. We will look at together and we will identify what other support you might need and we will arrange this with you.

  • Independent advocacy

    Advocates can help you with a range of issues from making an independent complaint about your care and treatment, carer advocacy as well as general support. Staff will give you a copy of ‘Do you need an Independent Mental Health Advocate?’ leaflet, copies are also available from the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

  • Coming to clinical groups

    Sometimes mums can feel anxious about coming to our groups and clinics because of a range worries. We would be keen for you to raise any of the concerns you have with us to see if we can support you with them. We have baby changing facilities in our clinics and if you have chosen to be seen in a clinic closer to home staff will be able to direct you to the nearest facilities. Breastfeeding is welcome anywhere on our premises but please do let us know if there is anything further we can assist you with to make you more comfortable

  • Interpreters

    If you require an interpreter staff can arrange to book an appointment.

  • Travel information

    • Bus timetable information – Telephone: 0871 200 22 33 (7am – 8pm)

  • References

    • Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance. NICE Clinical Guideline CG192 (2014) National Institute for Clinical Excellence: London.
    • Postnatal Depression: A Survival Guide for Dads (2014). Acacia Family Support.
    • Postnatal Depression – A self help guide (2020). Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email [email protected] Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    – the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    – complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Useful contacts

    • PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service
    Provides confidential advice and support for service users, relatives and carers.
    Tel: 0800 328 4397
    • People First – NHS Complaints Advocacy This service helps you to raise complaints about treatment that you have received from the NHS. Tel: 0300 303 8037
    • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 0191 246 6800
    • The Patient and Carer Involvement Service – Tel: 01670 501 816
    Involving patients, carers and their families in making decisions about their care, can lead to better outcomes and a better overall experience. The Patient and Carer Involvement Service co-ordinate and facilitate involvement, as well as providing training and support to those who wish to help the Trust shape service design and delivery. To find out more information visit our webpage: or email [email protected]

  • Contact

    Main Office Base: Perinatal Community Mental Health Team
    Brookside Centre
    Birdcage Walk
    CA7 9HB

    Telephone 01228 602 099

    Office hours Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

  • Information about content, other formats and version control

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre
    Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre

    2022 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

    Ref, PIC/874/0422 April 2022 V1 Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Review date 2025