Network Of Mental Health Specialists To Help Expectant And New Mothers

20 January 2017, 07:17

Pregnant woman

The first Scotland-wide network of specialists focused on improving mental health is being launched.

The Scottish Government said the Managed Clinical Network is expected to "identify gaps'' in care for expectant and new mothers, develop guidelines and improve standards ensuring everyone gets the same treatment throughout the country.

A lead clinician will head the service, assisted by maternity, nursing and infant mental health experts and management support.

Separate reviews undertaken by the NSPCC and the Mental Welfare Commission recommended creating the new network, which Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt will launch in Aberdeen on Friday.

She said: "The establishment of this first network for mental health is a sign of our determination to give mental health parity alongside physical health. These clinical networks operate in other parts of the health service and they have a proven track record for driving up standards of care.

"We know that perinatal mental health problems do not just affect mothers, they can also have a negative impact on the child. In fact, this can be one of the biggest risk factors that can lead to children having poorer outcomes in later life.

"Our new mental health strategy will contain a specific focus on allowing children to start their lives with good mental health. This new network will provide a focus for that, enabling us to improve standards for all children and new mothers right across Scotland.''

Dr Roch Cantwell, chairwoman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland's Faculty of Perinatal Psychiatry, said mental health problems affect one in five women during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth.

She said: "We know there are effective treatments but these are not always available when and where needed. This new network is an excellent start to ensuring that every woman in Scotland who requires help with mental health problems, receives prompt effective care from professionals who are skilled to meet her needs.''