Funding boosts mental health services for mums in Southend

An Essex-wide bid to boost mental health support for pregnant women and new mums has successfully secured funding. The money will be invested in expanding local services and recruiting specialist staff to build a community perinatal mental health team, ensuring Southend mothers can access high-quality support wherever they live.

The bid was led by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with local organisations, and in collaboration with women who have an experience of mental health issues. The money is part of £40m awarded to 20 areas of the country.

“Perinatal” covers the period during pregnancy and the first year after the birth of a child – it is a time when mothers can be affected by a range of problems including anxiety and depression.

Alison Clare, Programme Director at A Better Start Southend says:

“This additional funding is great news for Southend. If mental health issues are left untreated during this vital period they can have a devastating effect on both mother and baby. Supporting perinatal mental health is an important part of A Better Start’s approach. It’s important to deal with problems before they take hold in families, reducing the need for intervention later on.”

Hugh Johnston, from NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, who chairs Southend’s Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, is leading work locally to establish a steering group, which will help develop the services. Hugh says:

“Perinatal mental health has been identified as a national priority. Through our work with A Better Start Southend we know there is a real local need for specialist services supporting women, including teenage mums, and those who have lost a child during pregnancy.

“This is an opportunity to improve access to the highest quality mental health care, helping expectant and new mothers within their local communities.”

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Article published December 2016

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