Maternal Mental Health Matters

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Mental illness in pregnant and postnatal women often goes unrecognised, undiagnosed & untreated, yet more than one in ten mothers in the UK will develop a perinatal mental illness.

Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week, run by The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP), is a week long campaign dedicated to talking about mental illness which occurs while women are pregnant or after childbirth.

During pregnancy and the year after birth women can be affected by a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, OCD, bipolar disorder, postpartum psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. These are collectively called perinatal mental illnesses.

Perinatal mental illness can be frightening, debilitating and isolating and can have a devastating impact on women and their families, at a very important time in their lives. These illnesses can make women very ill and in the most severe cases are life threatening: Suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the UK.

There has been significant progress in knowledge and attitudes about tackling perinatal mental illness in recent years, and some areas of the UK have seen a growth in specialist services. NHS England is working to increase capacity and capability in specialist community and in-patient perinatal mental health services for women across England, backed by £365 million of investment.

This year, the theme is ‘Support For All’ and the campaign will be focusing on advocating for all families affected by Perinatal Mental Illness by helping them to access the information and help they require to enable recovery.

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