University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM), working with Together We're Better, the health and care partnership serving the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, have launched a Perinatal Mental Health Campaign on social media to de-stigmatise the conditions associated with having a baby.
Perinatal mental health can affect anybody either before they become pregnant or whilst they are pregnant, or after they have their baby. While more than 10% of women will develop this condition, it can also affect men too.
This can be through anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), low mood, panic disorders or psychosis. It can make you feel sad, withdrawn and isolated from other mums and partners, putting extra pressure on yourself to be the perfect parent.
Tom Parker-Evans, Clinical Lead Nurse for Mental Health at UHNM, said: "Having a baby is a big life event, and it's natural for both mother and father to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after pregnancy. But sometimes these feeling can impact on how people live their life and feel towards their new family.
“The aim of this Staffordshire wide campaign is to de-stigmatise mental health issues associated with having a baby and to show that help and support is available. We want as many people as possible to talk about perinatal mental health to help remove the negative associations with the condition."
Heather Johnstone, Programme Director for Together We're Better's Maternity Transformation Programme and Director of Nursing and Quality for the six Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: "Improving perinatal mental health services is a key priority for the health and social care partners in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent who make up the programme.
“Alongside the great work that is being carried out locally by mental health service providers, we're working to increase the level of support that is available and raise awareness of what is an important issue for many parents in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. I'm particularly pleased we are launching this campaign on national Time to Talk day, which encourages all of us to take time out to have a conversation about mental health with friends, loved ones and colleagues."
The campaign will see a series of short films promoted on social media to highlight the signs, symptoms and treatment available for people who are showing signs of a perinatal mental health issue.
In addition, the NHS in Staffordshire and Shropshire will introduce peer support workers to work alongside expert community teams to enhance the current provision of specialists in perinatal mental health, using their experience to improve and increase the amount of services available to women and their families.
More information about perinatal mental health, support available locally and the wider campaign is available on Together We're Better's perinatal mental health web page at www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/about-us/our-work/maternity-children-and-young-people/perinatal-mental-health.