Up to one in five mothers and one in 10 fathers experience mental health issues in the perinatal period, during pregnancy and a year after birth, according to the NSPCC.
In response the charity has launched a new campaign, 'Fight For a Fair Start', to reduce the risk of mental health issues during this critical time that can make it difficult for parents to look after and connect with their baby. This can also potentially affect a child's overall development.
The charity is calling for all families to receive the support they need no matter where they live. In England it wants the government to guarantee the funding, workforce, and accountability that’s needed to ensure parents receive quality support at every stage – from the first check-up through to specialist help if needed.
It also wants local authorities and local NHS to listen to parents to understand their particular needs, champion the healthy child programme, and invest in the hard-working community care teams so that all mothers and babies can receive the best in specialist care when they need it.
Investment needed in perinatal mental health services
In Scotland, the NSPCC wants each maternity unit to have access to support from a perinatal mental health midwife to help identify and support women and their families affected by poor maternal mental health.
It is also calling for specialist support for mother-infant attachment and bonding to be available to all who need it across all tiers of service delivery and NHS boards to ensure that the recent Scottish government investment is spent on transforming perinatal mental health services.
Mike McGrath, NSPCC Head of Partnerships, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have teamed up with Jo Malone London for such an important campaign. We know that mental health problems for parents during pregnancy and the first year of their child’s life can make it difficult for them to look after and bond with their baby, potentially affecting the child’s overall development.
“We have launched the Fight for a Fair Start campaign because we believe all mums and their families should receive the perinatal mental health support they need during pregnancy and after birth, both for themselves and so that they can give their babies the best start in life. We are incredibly grateful to Jo Malone London for their support in helping us to do this.”