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Perinatal Mental Health Team
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About the service
We specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of women affected by moderate to severe mental health problems during and after pregnancy.
We offer specialist advice about the use of mental health medications during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
We also offer pre-conception advice for women planning a pregnancy who have concerns about their mental health. Read our Perinatal Mental Health Service – preconception advice.
We offer specialist treatments that can help you and your baby’s bond.
For everyone who is accepted into our service, we aim to make contact within 14 days. In an emergency, we would aim to see you within 4 hours. If you are planning a pregnancy, we would aim to see you within 28 days.
We will work together with you, your family and other services involved in your care. This will include midwives, obstetricians, health visitors and GPs, as well as social care, other mental health teams and voluntary sector organisations.
We will agree an individualised plan of care for you during your pregnancy and in the postnatal period.
We realise that it can be difficult to travel to clinics. Therefore, if you have difficulty leaving home for whatever reason, all of our clinical team can see you at home or another location acceptable to you, as long as it is safe for us to do so.
You are very welcome to have your partner, a family member or a friend to be with you at any appointment.
We also run antenatal and postnatal therapy groups in all our local areas.
Find out more in our Perinatal Mental Health Service leaflet.
We’ve also developed a guide focusing on mental health support for new and expectant mums in Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. Covering a broad spectrum, the guide provides examples of emotions and behaviours and signposts to the relevant support – from voluntary and community organisations through to emergency help. The guide expresses the importance of seeking help early to prevent mental health difficulties worsening too.
Acacia – six multilingual perinatal mental health awareness films
Why would someone choose the service?
If you are reading this, either you or a loved one is probably struggling at a time which is very important for you and your family.
Often people can feel shame and guilt about asking for help, or fear that their baby will be removed from their care.
We would like you to know that it is absolutely OK to ask for help at this time and that you will not be judged for contacting us…
- You might be screaming inside, but having to put on a brave face to the world, in order to let everyone else think you are fine.
- You are probably suddenly feeling very different from your normal self, and not know where to turn, who to ask for help, or where to go.
- You might be fearing for your and your baby’s future and safety.
- You might be wanting to run away, be feeling that you are a terrible mum, or that baby would be better off with someone else
- You might be struggling to bond with your baby
- You might be anxious about anything and everything, especially about baby
- You might be getting terrible pictures and thoughts jumping into your head, which you are frightened of telling anyone about
If reading the above sounds just like you, PLEASE ask for help!
If you are scared or have doubts about what it might be like to get help from our service, please read below some of the following comments from women who we have helped:
‘Home visits really helped. Fast, compassionate – non-judgemental support’
‘I got the help I needed’
‘I think that the service has really helped me and I feel that I would not be where I am today without the help and support I have had.’
‘Excellent service. Highly recommend.’
‘It was absolutely amazing! I can’t thank then enough.’
Staff you may meet
- Administrative staff provide essential support to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. This can be in a variety of different settings, with administrators working as a receptionist in a clinic or a clerk on a ward. They may also be working closely with a consultant as a medical secretary.
- There are more than 60 different specialities that doctors work within the NHS. Each is unique but there are many characteristics which are common. Roles range from working in a hospital to being based in the community as a GP.
- Nurses who choose to specialise in the mental health branch of nursing work with GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, and others, to help care for patients. Increasingly, care is given in the community, with mental health nurses visiting patients and their families at home, in residential centres, in prisons or in specialist clinics or units.
- Occupational therapy is the assessment and treatment of physical and psychiatric conditions using specific, purposeful activity to prevent disability and promote independent function in all aspects of daily life.
- Receptionists are the first link for many patients and visitors. They often work on their own or with one or two other receptionists, greeting patients as they arrive and check them in. They might also collect patient notes and ensure that these vital records go to the right healthcare professional. In a clinic, they may make appointments and arrange patient transport.
- Social workers help, support and protect people who are facing difficulties in their lives. They help people to take positive steps to overcome problems and improve their lives. This could involve assessing and reviewing a service user’s situation, building relationships with service users and their families and agreeing what practical support someone needs.
- Telephonists (also known as switchboard operators) are employed throughout the health service. They may work on a busy switchboard in a hospital or the Trust headquarters. Like receptionists, they are an important first point of contact for patients and their families and are a vital link between a caller and the person who can help.
- Therapy is a broad term and can range from occupational therapists to behavioural therapists. Our therapists are trained in their specialist area and type of therapy to make sure we can offer the very best care.
Why a professional should choose the service
- Local service for local people
- Quick access and treatment
- Routine assessments have a target waiting time of 2 weeks between receipt of referral and initial contact
- Preconception assessments have a target waiting time of 4 weeks
- Our offer addresses a very common difficulty: 1 in 5 women will experience a mental health problem either during pregnancy or in the first postnatal year; 1 in 10 women will experience severe postnatal depression
- If our service is commissioned according to national criteria, our target is to impact on the care of 6.4% of the perinatal population by the end of 2020. The live birth rate across the SWYPFT footprint is approximately 15,000 per year, equating to approximately 960 women per year
- Interventions delivered promptly in a manner and setting suitable to a woman
- Excellent liaison/networking with other local services, especially midwifery and health visiting
- Evidence-based interventions with routine outcome measurement
- Use of groups in order to maximise client contacts, and also to reduce isolation experienced by women at a particularly vulnerable time
- The cost to the public sector of perinatal mental health problems is 5 times the cost of improving services; investment in perinatal mental health is likely to save money to the local health economy in the long term (The Costs of Perinatal Mental Health Problems, 2014 London School of Economics and Centre for Mental Health; https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/publications/costs-of-perinatal-mental-health-problems)
- Care planning relating to help required during pregnancy/early postnatal days, and for help in first postnatal year relating to your mental health and how it affects your bond with baby
- Specialist medication advice during pregnancy and during breastfeeding
- Group interventions, to improve your ability to manage your emotions in pregnancy, being mindful of baby and your own needs
- Compassion-focused therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Contact with our peer support worker (a woman with lived experience of postnatal mental health problems), who also provides baby massage
- Video Interaction Guidance (a specialist treatment which involves video recording; this is proven to improve your bond with baby)
- Joint work alongside your midwife, health visitor and any other professional services required, to ensure your care is joined up between different services
- Telephone and face to face assessments are offered in a location suitable to yourself, either at home, clinics, GP surgery or other suitable community services
- Preventing severe postnatal mental health problems developing, especially if you have a history of these, or if they run in your family
- Improved mental health
- Improved bonding with your baby
- Improved quality of life
- Improved ability to cope
- Reduced distress
- Earlier recovery, to allow you and your family to enjoy your early years together
- Reducing fear about becoming pregnant again
- Planning future pregnancies if you have had previous significant postnatal mental health difficulties, or if you are on medication and unclear as to whether you should stop these or continue on them whilst trying to conceive
Referrals accepted from:
A & E, AHPs, Carers/family, CMHTs, Consultants, Courts, Drug/alcohol agencies, GP staff, GPs, Health visitors, Hospital staff, Housing associations, Local authority staff, Midwives, Other NHS services, Other Trust services, Patients(self-referral), Police, Schools, Single Point of Access team, Voluntary services, Youth centres, Youth Offending Team
Referrals should be made by either completing our referral form and return to PerinatalTeam@swyt.nhs.uk or contacting our team on 01924 316009. Our team is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
In an emergency/out of hours, please contact your local Single Point of Access (SPA – as on our downloadable service leaflet)
In an emergency, we will aim to see you with our Intensive Home-Based Treatment Team within 4 hours