Perinatal Community Mental Health Team – Information for referrers

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

  • About the service

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

    The Perinatal Community Mental Health Service provides care for women who are experiencing a range of mental health problems within the perinatal period. This is from conception to the first year postpartum. We also offer pre-conceptual counselling for women with severe or complex mental illness.

    We care for women with a range of moderately to severe common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and severe mental health disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis and Schizophrenia.

    The service is available to women living in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland and South Tyneside.

  • What does the service provide?

    The service offers care and treatment including:

    • Pre-conceptual counselling for women with a history of serious mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis.
    • Specialist perinatal advice, treatment and care management for women with an increased risk of developing a puerperal psychosis following birth including those with a previous history of puerperal psychosis or psychotic disorders or a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective and Schizophrenia.
    • Specialist perinatal advice, treatment and management of medication during pregnancy and into the postpartum period including considerations of medication advice related to breastfeeding from our medical team.
    • Specialist support from Perinatal Community Practitioners regarding interventions and mental health support.
    • Specialist Nursery Nurses who can offer one to one sessions and group work to promote mother and baby attachment.
    • Peer Support Workers who can share their own lived experience and support mothers and their babies and families with their recovery journey.
    • Integrating mental health support into obstetric clinics.
    • The team works together with the linked specialised Inpatient Mother and Baby Unit (Beadnell Ward) to provide alternatives to admission and treatment and support in the community for women following discharge from an inpatient stay.
    • Safeguarding children and adults through daily contact with families, supporting early help plans and active involvement in safeguarding procedures.
    • Our multidisciplinary staff have specialist training in a range of therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy; Interpersonal Psychotherapy; Systemic Practice; Video Interaction Guidance; Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing Therapy and mindfulness.
    • Specialist psychological support offering individual assessment and therapy.
  • How to refer?

    Referrals are accepted from all health professionals (Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 except bank holidays).

    A member of our team will endeavour to speak to you on the day that you contact the service. This will enable a triaging process in line with the Perinatal Pathway (see overleaf) and promote the right service at the right time.

    Referrals are accepted in the following ways:

    • By E-mail: [email protected]
    • By Letter: Perinatal Community Mental Health Service, Ashgrove, St. Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 3XT.

    The service works closely with Crisis and Psychiatric Liaison Services as well as with Maternity Services across the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area.

    We welcome telephone contact for advice prior to any referral. The Team can be contacted on 0191 246 7400.

  • Referral criteria

    • Women who are pregnant or are within the first postpartum year.
    • Women requiring secondary care support (assessed through risk of relapse, risk to self and others and/or estrangement from their infant and/or dysfunction in daily activities).
    • Women whose diagnoses include (this list is not exhaustive):
      Postpartum psychosis, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder and other psychoses, serious depressive illness, severe anxiety disorder (inc. OCD).
    • Other mental disorder which cannot be managed in primary care.
    • Women with a history of serious mental illness after childbirth or at other times, even if well.
    • Women aged between 16-18 years will be managed in conjunction with locality Child and Young People’s Services (CYPS).
    • Women with a history of serious mental illness who are considering a pregnancy will be seen for pre-conception counselling.
    • We will consider referrals of women who are experiencing significant mental health problems in relation to stillbirths, neo-natal deaths, cot deaths or miscarriages and terminations and which are considered outside of the normal grief reaction or who have not responded to bereavement counselling. However, there may be more appropriate services available depending on locality.

    We aim to complete assessments within 2 weeks from referral and begin treatment within 4 weeks.

  • Exclusion criteria

    We are unable to accept referrals which include:

    Women whose babies are over one year old.

    Women with a condition of mild to moderate severity that does not require the services of the specialist perinatal community psychiatric team and/or can be managed effectively in primary care.

    Women whose problem is primarily an addictions disorder without a co-morbid mental illness.

    We do not care co-ordinate women whose children are unlikely to remain within their care (however we will consider offering scaffolding support in these circumstances).

  • Organising discharge

    In preparation for discharge we will offer to support the completion of a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

    We will work together to identify next steps required following discharge. This can include a referral to another service. You will be kept informed of any plans which are made.

    If a transfer of care is agreed then we will ensure a care coordination meeting with the service user and their significant others (if available). Once discharge has been completed we will write to you within 24 hours with summary discharge plan following this up within 10 days will a full discharge plan.


  • Contact

    St. Nicholas Hospital
    NE3 3XT

    There are satellite bases at:

    Beadnell Ward  
    St. George’s Park
    NE61 2NU

    Monkwearmouth Hospital
    Newcastle Road
    SR5 1NB

    Telephone: 0191 246 7400

    Email: [email protected]