Perinatal Mental Health Service
We are a specialist multi-disciplinary team providing care and treatment for women who live in Gloucestershire. Our team work with women who are seeking pre-pregnancy advice, are pregnant or women referred within nine months of the postnatal period. We can remain involved up to 12 months after childbirth.
Mental health problems are very common in the perinatal period and up to 1 in 5 women struggle with their wellbeing during this time. We know that women often suffer in silence, but we also know with the right treatment and support that the prognosis is good. We prioritise women with serious and complex mental health needs, including those who have experienced serious mental health episodes in the past but are currently well. We also offer expert advice to women considering pregnancy if they have a severe mental health diagnosis, or have experienced a previous significant postnatal illness.
We are a multidisciplinary team made up of a consultant perinatal psychiatrist, specialist nurses, clinical psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker and nursery-nurses.
Call 01452 894952
Accessing the service
Your midwife, GP, health visitor or other healthcare professional can refer you. If you are already working with a mental health team such as a recovery team, or Let’s Talk or if you are under the care of crisis team then they may refer into our service. We can work jointly with other mental health teams to ensure that your perinatal needs are met.
Why have I been referred to the service?
- you have been treated for a mental health problem in the past and you are planning a further pregnancy or are already pregnant.
- your GP, midwife, obstetrician or health visitor feels that you may be unwell and could benefit from our help.
- there is a family history of certain mental health problems, such as bipolar affective disorder or postpartum psychosis, which can sometimes increase the risk of mental health problems after childbirth.
I’ve been referred, what happens next?
We will either contact you by phone to discuss the referral or alternatively we may send you an appointment letter with an assessment date.
With your agreement we work with your partner and family members and are available to answer any questions or concerns.
If you are unable to keep your appointment we ask that you give us as much notice as possible. This allows us to make best use of our clinical time. To cancel or rearrange your appointment please call us.
If you need an interpreter to be present or require any specific support to attend your appointment please inform let us know when you receive your appointment letter.
How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
We aim to see everyone within six-weeks of referral, the majority we try and see within 2-weeks. An appointment will take around one hour. You can bring someone with you to the appointment if you wish and of course babies are welcome.
What can I expect from the first appointment?
An assessment that embraces what is important to you in your pregnancy or the postnatal period and gives you the time to talk through any concerns you may have about your mental health. At the end of the assessment we will make a plan of care and you will get a written letter reflecting on the points raised during the assessment.
If it is felt that you don’t need the input of our team we will offer advice and look at alternative support for you, which might include; Let’s Talk, our Infant Mental Health Team, Home start or other local support groups.
Confidentiality and consent
When you talk with a health professional in private you will expect that what is said remains confidential. This principle is central to trust between patients and their doctor or other health professionals. Details of your care and treatment, including anything you tell us, remain confidential and will only be shared within our multidisciplinary clinical team (which includes health and social care staff) if necessary.
All health professionals are bound by law and professional codes of conduct to this duty of confidentiality to their patients.
How we can help
Following an initial assessment, if support from our team is needed, you will be allocated a lead healthcare professional who will be your main contact and will help to coordinate your care. We will work alongside you to create a care plan that will be tailored to meet your individual needs. Common treatments may include;
- Pregnancy and birth planning for women who have had a previous serious episode of mental illness.
- If you are pregnant we will work with you to create a 32-week-birth-plan to promote wellbeing and reduce mental health problems following the birth of your baby.
- Psychological interventions.
- Advice in prescribing medication for mental health reasons in pregnancy and breast feeding.
- Help for women who are not bonding with their baby, with support from our nursery nurses and the infant mental health team. Our nursery nurses are able to offer various interventions including baby massage and neonatal behavioural observations.
- Information about other services, for example Let’s Talk or our Infant Mental Health Team.
Involvement of partners and significant others
You can bring your partner, friend or family member with you to appointments. We will ask for your consent before sharing any information with friends, family members and carers.
Dads and partners
Partners play an important role in the mum’s recovery. We know that it can also be a difficult time for partners and for their own wellbeing. With consent we work closely with them to support their individual needs.
If you are a father concerned about your mental health, the Dads Matter website has useful information.
We want to hear about your experiences, whether good or bad to help us develop our services and make them better. We want to understand what is important to you about the care and treatment you receive.
We use your feedback to make improvements to our environments, our wards and to the services we provide.
Information for professionals
Referrals to our service can be made using the referral form via the Trust’s contact centre. Referrals are prioritised according to urgency.
The contact centre will contact the perinatal mental health team regarding urgent referrals to ensure prompt response. Urgent referrals are managed by a duty worker who will arrange an assessment appointment within the agreed time standard.
Our team can offer advice and guidance to all colleagues either prior to referral or for any concerns. The advice number is 01452 894952. A clinician will return your call within 24 hours for non-urgent calls.