An event at the Kindle Centre marked the launch of the new service. Clinicians from 2gether explained how the service will operate and the impact it will have on the lives of women who develop (or relapse from) a serious mental health condition either during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby (the perinatal period).
The team has been operating since March. Clinicians working within the service have the expertise to deal with women who present with a range of conditions either during pregnancy or after birth. These include psychosis, severe anxiety, phobic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The focus of the specialist service will be women who are in the top 4.5% for severe perinatal mental ill-health.
Currently, the team includes a clinical psychologist, a team manager, community psychiatric nurses, a clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist and a nursery nurse.
Twelve women are being looked after by the specialist team which is commissioned to cater for 85 in total.
Team Manager Sally Simmonds said: “It’s just so exciting because everyone wants this service and we’ve had an amazing amount of support both nationally and locally which is very encouraging.
“We’re on a journey together and it’s amazing.”
Community Psychiatric Nurse, Hayley Whitmore said: “I find it really positive that everyone we’ve spoken to about it wants the service, so naturally this creates a lot of expectation.
“We want to be a can-do service and it’s important that we give people the skills to recognise the triggers that they need to see in order to make a referral to us.”
Mum Sally Wilson from the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis developed postpartum psychosis following the birth of her daughter Ella.
She shared a moving account of her experience with the group: “It’s really important that women and families can access the right support because these services quite literally save lives,” she said.