Welsh Government Report into Perinatal Mental Health in Wales

NationalAssemblyforWalesPMHOct2017APP welcomes the findings of the Welsh Government’s Children, Young People and Education Committee Inquiry into Perinatal Mental Healthcare in Wales. The report is released today and can be read in full here.

Dr Jess Heron, Director of APP, says:

"The situation for Welsh families who develop Postpartum Psychosis has been totally inadequate. Mums who become ill in Wales have had to make the decision between being separated from their baby for treatment in a General Adult Unit, where specialist knowledge and appropriate facilities are lacking, or being transferred to a specialist Mother & Baby Unit in England, miles away from their partners, families and support networks. The recommendations made here are a positive step forward for Wales, and give us real optimism for the future."

APP particularly welcome the following recommendations:

· The Committee find that general adult psychiatric wards are not sufficiently specialist to care for mothers during the perinatal period, and the separation of mother & baby for psychiatric treatment should not be tolerated in a modern health care service. They recommend the establishment of a specialist Mother & Baby Unit (MBU) on the M4 corridor, and a second Welsh MBU in north east Wales, shared with NHS trusts over the border in England.

· The committee report that awareness of perinatal mental health remains poor among the public and health professionals. They recommend that the Welsh Government undertake a public awareness campaign to improve understanding of perinatal mental health conditions and their symptoms. They recommend that antenatal patient information and antenatal classes to include information about the spectrum of postnatal illness.

· The Committee find that frontline staff - including midwives and GPs - feel ill equipped to identify and treat maternal mental illness.

They recommend that the Welsh Government work to ensure that perinatal mental health becomes a core part of the training and continuous professional development of all healthcare professionals likely to come into contact with pre- and post- natal women.

· They find lack of psychological support across all Health Boards in Wales to support women with perinatal mental illness and recommend investment in psychological services and professional training.

· The role of the third sector in identifying gaps in service provision and filling them was clear. More needs to be done to provide funding for and awareness of third sector perinatal mental health organisations and peer support provision.

If you have experienced Postpartum Psychosis, live in Wales, and would like to help APP make a difference for families in Wales, please get in touch: info@app-network.org