Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has officially launched a new specialist service offering help to new mothers with severe postnatal depression and other complex mental health issues.
The Suffolk Perinatal Mental Health Service provides specialist care to women from the county with conditions such as serious post and ante-natal depression and psychosis, said the trust.
“We are really pleased to be able to officially launch this important new service”
It is available to women during pregnancy, at the time of birth and up to a year following the birth of their baby, according to the mental health trust.
The service started seeing patients in October, but held an official launch event today, where staff described their new service to around 100 colleagues from health, local government and social care.
It is run by a consultant psychiatrist, two senior nurses and an administrator, who provide a range of support and interventions to women with severe mental illness for up to a year following the birth.
The team also work closely with colleagues within the community who provide perinatal care, to identify and support women who may be at risk of presenting with mental health difficulties.
It has already helped around 50 patients and trained 200 students, midwives, social workers and colleagues from the third sector and primary care on the signs and symptoms they should look for.
Helen Jackson, a perinatal clinical nurse specialist at the trust, said: “We are really pleased to be able to officially launch this important new service, which is already having a really positive impact.
“We start working with women as early as possible, with support continuing for up to a year following the birth of their child when needed,” said Ms Jackson.
She added: “Our aim is to work closely with our partners so these women can benefit from joined-up care when they are at their most vulnerable and go on to enjoy a healthy happy life with their new baby.”
“NHS organisations across the patch are working together to deliver a joined-up service”
The service has been funded by two local clinical commissioning groups and is being delivered in partnership with acute providers Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
The team work closely with maternity staff at both trusts, as well as health visitors in the community and other stakeholders such as social services, so that women receive joined-up services.
Dr Rosalind Tandy, a GP and mental health lead for West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This new service is a positive step forward in the ongoing improvement of local mental health services.
“NHS organisations across the patch are working together to deliver a joined-up service,” she said. “It is certainly pleasing that in such a short time so many women have received help and support.”