What you need to know…
The Children, Young People and
Perinatal mental health in Wales
I was delighted to attend the launch of the document on perinatal mental health which was held in Cardiff Bay. The audience consisted of health professionals, charitable organisations and leading experts in perinatal mental health. The
The Welsh Government has recognised the need for Perinatal Mental Health Services in Wales. A comprehensive document has been produced following the enquiry into the experiences of services users, particularly women with lived experiences, charitable, voluntary and statutory organisations. I was asked by the Institute of Health Visiting to represent Health Visitors and inform the Assembly Committee of the involvement of health visitors and the developing services in perinatal mental health (PMH).
The report provided the statistics to illustrate that 1:5 women or 30.000 women in Wales are affected by perinatal mental illness, and this in turn, impacts on their partners and wider family.
The Committee stated that a figure of £1.5 million has been ring-fenced to provide the necessary services and currently, this has been spent commissioning the services of specialists in perinatal mental health. Although still in its infancy, it has been recognised that there is an opportunity for expansion.
There are five key points:
The emphasis is on providing the Service to a Community setting, ensuring that continuity of support is delivered close to families’ homes, in order to alleviate the need for hospital care
PMH support throughout the country varies significantly, despite every Health Board having PMH Teams. However, these have only been in place a short period of time, so there is the probability of them developing significantly
The is a paucity of IAP services which needs to be addressed
It has been noted that some individual needs have not been met
The quality of services should be universal
There was recognition that more funding is necessary to address the disparity in services. This is underpinned by the fact that the overall cost of PMH illness, to the nation of Wales, was estimated at £1.2 billion. The importance of the involvement charitable and voluntary organisation was recognised but also understood that they should be used as a complimentary service, not as a substitution for any gaps within the statutory services. The lack of psychological services should be prioritised, with rapid access as necessary. The emphasis was on continuity of care and ensuring there is conversation between health and inequity within Wales
The recommendation was for strong commissioning services and the development of Mother and Baby Units (MBU). Although this is an area for discussion there were suggestions for a MBU Units in South and North Wales, with ‘hubs’ situated more locally. It was also envisaged the MBUs be Centres of Excellence, accommodating training resources and research facilities.
Raising awareness is strong on the agenda, and plans are in progress for a public health campaign.
The next steps are a response from the Welsh Government followed by a Plenary debate. The Committee has stated it is committed to monitoring the implementation of the recommendations and in recognition of the important role of the contributors, plans to keep everyone involved with the process.
In Wales, we are proud of this vision and congratulate the Committee for listening to everyone, taking concerns seriously and ensuring that it will work successfully -for everyone.