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New service at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn will help mums with mental health issues

PUBLISHED: 10:39 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 03 May 2018

Nurse Kim McAllister at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: QEH

Nurse Kim McAllister at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: QEH

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A new service to help pregnant women and new mums who might be suffering from mental health issues has been launched in Norfolk.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn we marked World Maternal Mental Health Day on Wednesday by holding an awareness event in its main reception.

With as many as one in four women affected by a mental health issue, such as depression, bipolar disorder or psychosis, either while pregnant or post-natal, referrals to the service and the help and it offers are important.

Referrals can come from GPs or women who believe they have problems can self-refer.

Kim McAllister, who has just become the QEH’s first specialist midwife for perinatal mental health, took the opportunity on Wednesday to advise visitors to the hospital about the service and its benefits.

She said: “It’s important that we make women realise that it’s normal to talk about mental health. A lot of women wrongly think they might have their children removed from them if they disclose a mental health issue.

“It can lead to problems with baby and then into childhood with school and relationships if they haven’t had the right bonding.”

The service at QEH has been developed in partnership with the Community Perinatal Mental Health Service launched by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in September 2017.

It provides specialist care to women from across Norfolk and Waveney who suffer from conditions such as severe post-natal depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis.

It was launched after NHS England awarded the trust £2.5m to develop the service over the next three years.

The service will also provide support for the wider family and education for other professionals involved in the care of pregnant and post-partum women, such as doctors, midwives and health visitors, so that they can identify those who are at risk at an early stage.

It was developed in partnership with maternity services at the QEH, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and James Paget Hospital, as well as Cambridgeshire Community Trust, which provides health visiting services and nursery nurses.


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