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Specialist support for mums in Lancashire and South Cumbria during Maternal Mental Health Week

Posted on the 23rd April 2019

New and expectant mums living in Lancashire and South Cumbria can access care and support from Lancashire Care’s specialist perinatal community mental health service this Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (29 April-3 May).

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (MMH) is held every year, to raise awareness among mothers, families and the general public about the challenges of motherhood. The campaign aims to combat stigma around maternal mental health issues and encourage mothers to seek help. With this in mind, health professionals from the Trust would like to remind local residents of the support they offer through a specialist perinatal community perinatal service.

The service offers psychiatric and psychological assessments and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during pregnancy up to one year after giving birth. The service will also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.

Dr Gillian Strachan, Consultant Psychiatrist at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation said:

“Up to 20% of women develop a mental illness during their pregnancy or within the first year after having their baby. This includes mental illness existing before pregnancy, as well as illnesses that develop for the first time, or are greatly exacerbated during the perinatal period. These illnesses can be mild, moderate or severe and can require different kinds of care or treatment.

“We recognise that becoming a mum can be an extremely difficult time for women and their families and want to remind them of the specialist advice, treatment and support that we offer for women living across South Cumbria and Lancashire. We want to work together with the local community to ensure that women and babies are given the best start in life and that no one has to suffer alone.”

The team is made up of a variety of different health professionals including psychiatrists, specialist nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and dedicated administrators who will work together to provide a comprehensive service to mums and their infants, depending on their individual needs. The team also work closely with the Trust’s Perinatal Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) and existing services across maternity, mental health and health visiting.

Ribblemere is an eight-bed Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for mothers who are experiencing severe mental illness during the latter stages of pregnancy or in the year after giving birth, and who cannot be treated safely in their own home. The MBU provides a safe place for women to be supported and treated alongside their babies, allowing for their relationship to be maintained and nurtured alongside their recovery.

For more information please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/perinatal-mental-health.