06 February 2017
Launch of the Specialist Community Perinatal Mental Health Team
The new Specialist Community Perinatal Mental Health
Service (SCPNS) was officially launched this week.
The SCPNS, run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental
Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP), is commissioned to support
women who experience high risk mental health problems during and
after pregnancy, and for their infant up to the age of one
The service, initially commissioned by Bristol
Clinical Commissioning Group, is expanding following a successful
collaborative Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire bid
to the NHS England Perinatal Mental Health Community Services
Development Fund. Funding was awarded to provide a service to
Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
The SCPNS has a shared care ethos, working
closely with primary care, maternity services, adult mental health
teams, early years services and independent sector organisations to
ensure that all health professionals have access to specialist
advice and guidance on managing all women with mental health needs
throughout the perinatal period, and that those women have access
to specialist assessment, treatment and care planning.
The service will provide an advice and guidance
service to all health professionals, support to women already using
secondary mental health services where psychiatric disorder
predates pregnancy and is expected to continue beyond, plus new
referrals of perinatal presentations.
Service users, carers, voluntary sector
supporters and media gathered at Bristol Zoo Pavilion to meet the
team and hear more about how the service will operate.
Commissioners and professionals spoke about the 10-year journey to
develop the specialist service and the challenge of keeping
perinatal mental health high on the agenda.
Most movingly, the event heard from three
service users about their experience of perinatal mental health
services and their support for the new SCPNS, which complements the
care already provided at New Horizon mother and baby unit.
Dr Leanne Hayward, AWP's Consultant Psychiatrist
and Clinical Lead said, "As a service, we are in a very unique and
privileged position. We have the opportunity to support mothers,
infants and their wider family at an incredibly important and
precious time in life. By intervening early, providing specialist
advice, interventions and education, we have the perfect
opportunity to facilitate recovery, promote well-being and
attachment between mothers and their babies, to raise awareness and
to reduce the impact of mental health conditions on the next
Former service user Emma Pick said, "The thought
of being unwell again absolutely petrifies me if I'm honest.
However it's so reassuring to learn of this specialist team, who
would be in a position to support mums that have experienced acute
post natal depression and anxiety previously."