Mental health care for mothers and babies ‘among best in UK’

Susan Stolworthy, operational manager with the Norfolk and Waveney community perinatal mental health

Susan Stolworthy, operational manager with the Norfolk and Waveney community perinatal mental health service. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

The region's mental health trust has been found to be among the country's best for caring for mothers and their babies.

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Hellesdon Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) has rated the area as green in its latest assessment of service provision across the country, which means that the community services provided to new and expectant mums meet the highest quality standards.

It is the first time that Norfolk and Waveney have been rated as green, and comes following investment in specialist services being delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

These include:

• The community perinatal mental health service, which offers targeted help to pregnant women and new mums with serious mental health difficulties. The service caters for people with conditions such as severe post-natal depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis. It also offers pre-conception advice.

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• The eight-bedded Kingfisher mother and baby unit, currently being built at Kingfisher House in Hellesdon Hospital. The unit is due to open in early 2019 and will mean mothers and their babies can stay together while the mother receives inpatient care for conditions such as severe postnatal depression, serious anxiety disorders and postpartum psychosis.

Plus services already in place include:

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• The parent infant mental health attachment team, which along with Norfolk County Council offers specialist therapy and support to parents of babies up to two years old who are at the risk of being taken into care.

• The Point 1 zero to four team, which is part of the wider Point 1 service delivered together with Ormiston Families and youth charity MAP. The team works to support healthy attachments and relationships as the foundations for long-term wellbeing for infants and young children.

Susan Stolworthy, operational manager with the Norfolk and Waveney community perinatal mental health service, said: 'Over the past few years, we have been working incredibly hard to improve the care which is provided to mothers with mental health difficulties. This has seen us launch several new specialist services, which are designed to give these vulnerable women the care they need to go on and enjoy a healthy, happy life with their new baby.

'The next phase will be the opening of our new MBU at Kingfisher House in Norwich. This vital unit will provide potentially life-changing care to new mothers with serious mental health problems, and will mean they can receive the psychiatric support they need without having to travel elsewhere.'

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