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New £50m fund to improve mental health of expectant mothers

Nicola Sturgeon announced the investment during a visit to St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

Pregnant: Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women.
Pregnant: Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women. Pixabay

More than £50m is to be spent on improving access to mental health services for expectant and new mothers, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The money will provide access to treatment for an additional 11,000 women who experience mental health problems during and after their pregnancy.

Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have long lasting effects on women and their families.

New models of service delivery will be introduced, including specialist care for acute perinatal mental health problems and improved infant mental health services.

'This new funding will identify mental health problems quickly so they can be treated promptly. Women and their families should also expect services to treat them with dignity and respect'
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Speaking on a visit to the mother and baby unit at St John's Hospital in Livingston, the First Minister said: "Our priority is to drive up standards of perinatal metal health care for new mothers and their children right across Scotland.

"This new funding will identify mental health problems quickly so they can be treated promptly. Women and their families should also expect services to treat them with dignity and respect.

"The impact is not just felt by women. The mental and physical health of fathers and other partners can also be affected following the birth of a new baby.

"We also know that between 5% and 10% of fathers may develop mental health problems in the perinatal period."

A new needs assessment report, funded by the Scottish Government, has been published by the national Managed Clinical Network (MCN) for perinatal mental health.

The report outlines recommendations to improve the provision of mental health care for expectant and new mothers and their families.

'Perinatal mental illness can be devastating, but we know that there are effective treatments which can manage and, in some circumstances, prevent its onset'
Dr Roch Cantwell, lead clinician for the Perinatal Mental Health National Managed Clinical Network

Dr Roch Cantwell, lead clinician for the Perinatal Mental Health National Managed Clinical Network, said: "This report results from the enthusiasm, dedication and drive of women and their families who experience perinatal mental ill health, and the professionals who care for them across Scotland.

"Perinatal mental illness can be devastating, but we know that there are effective treatments which can manage and, in some circumstances, prevent its onset.

"The needs assessment and service recommendations report gives us a template to establish services which will ensure that women, their infants and families, receive expert care wherever they live in Scotland and that children can have the best start in life."

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