06 March 2020
New specialist mental health service to offer lifeline to mums, children and families across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire
Hundreds of women across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon
and Wiltshire (BSW) affected by severe and complex mental health
problems during pregnancy and early motherhood are being offered
specialist help and support.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has
been commissioned to provide a new Specialist Community Perinatal
Mental Health Service across BSW.
The service has been partially up and running since 2019, but
from Thursday 5th March will offer the full service.
Maria Cox, BSW Specialist Perinatal Community Team Manager,
said: "This new service will provide much needed specialist
support. Perinatal mental illness affects hundreds of mothers,
fathers and children across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire every
year, and the problems it causes can be severe and even
life-threatening. This service will not only offer a lifeline to
mums at risk of developing severe mental health problems during the
perinatal period but will also have a positive impact on their
children and families. It is fantastic that we will now be able to
offer this specialist help when it's needed most."
Perinatal mental health problems occur during pregnancy or in
the first year following the birth of a child. They are estimated
to affect up to 600 women a year across the BSW area, and cover a
wide range of conditions. If left untreated, they can have
significant and long lasting effects on mothers, fathers and
Previously those affected by such conditions across the region
were at risk of falling through care gaps because of a lack of
specialist help. Now, the new Specialist Community Perinatal Mental
Health Service will offer targeted support from a dedicated team
who are all perinatal mental health specialists.
Holly Reynolds, a mum of two who experienced perinatal mental
health issues after the birth of her daughter, said the new service
will provide invaluable support for those in need of help.
"I became quite poorly very quickly after I had my daughter and
found it very difficult to access the help I needed. This new
service will help so much and just knowing it is available will do
so much to ease the minds of a lot of mums with underlying mental
Services, which will include psychiatric and psychological
assessment and care for women with complex or severe mental health
problems during the perinatal period, will be based at a service
hub in Chippenham with clinics held in Paulton (BaNES), Swindon and
Patients will be referred to the service via a GP, midwife,
health visitor or other health professional.
Lucy Baker, Director of Service Delivery for Bath and North
East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups
(CCGs), said: "This service will mean that a greater number of mums
and families will be provided with the robust support, care,
information and advice they need. Early intervention and prevention
and better joined up care will also have a positive impact on the
mental wellbeing of mums, families and babies and help to ensure
that children have the best start in life."
The service has been set up thanks to over £1 million in funding
from NHS England, following a successful bid from the BaNES,
Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership
which is working to join up and simplify health and social care
provision for people across the region.