HSE mental health supports are available to any woman who needs it during pregnancy and after birth

World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (2-8 May 2022)

One in five women will experience a mental health issue in pregnancy or after the birth of their baby.

See HSE.ie for expert information on Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services

This World Maternal Mental Health Week (2-8th May 2022) and World Maternal Mental Health Day (Wednesday 4th May 2022) the HSE Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services urges women to seek support if they need it. There is a range of support information and videos to help women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy and may have a mental health issue.

Expert advice and treatment for women is also available through Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Teams directly, including perinatal mental health midwives who offer support and information to any woman who needs it during pregnancy and following birth.

Dr Margo Wrigley, HSE National Clinical Lead, Perinatal Mental Health explains: “Perinatal mental health issues are those which complicate pregnancy and the first year after the baby is born. There are approximately 60,000 births in Ireland each year. Up to one fifth of women will have some mental health problems in pregnancy and the year post delivery. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy. These affect about 10 to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women and the severity can vary. Increased numbers of women have been referred to Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services during Covid-19. Hub site teams are reporting up to a 60% increase in numbers of patients seen through the National Oversight Implementation Group.”

“It is as important to have treatment for mental health problems as it is for physical health problems in pregnancy and following the birth of your baby. You can still be a great mother even if you are experiencing perinatal mental health problems. Some may find it more difficult than others to cope with the changes and uncertainties which pregnancy brings, which is why Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services are more important than ever before.”

The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Model of Care is based on an integrated approach in which mental health services are embedded within the 19 maternity services. All women attending maternity services are asked about their mental health by their midwife or obstetrician and can be referred to mental health services where clinically indicated.

In addition, women with an existing mental health issue can ask their GP or psychiatrist for a referral to specialist perinatal mental health services to see a perinatal psychiatrist for advice when they are planning a pregnancy.

A specialist perinatal mental health service will usually look after someone who has a more serious or complex mental health issue, not every woman will need this service. Women can get good care from their GP and public health nurse (PHN) for milder mental health issues in pregnancy and after birth.

Video: Watch Lititia’s story here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tmHFmKOUrQ

Patient Resources

Specialist perinatal mental health have also developed a number of resources to support women and their families, including the development of videos involving our clinicians and patients, patient information leaflets and useful posters for maternity and other frontline settings. 12 Patient information leaflets were developed with clinicians focusing on specific PMH issues including information for partners and families. They are available to women and GPs to order free of charge from www.healthpromotion.ie (file:///C:/Users/amandakenny/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/HGYH6261/www.healthpromotion.ie).

Attend Anywhere

During the Covid-10 pandemic Specialist perinatal mental health teams continued to provide care for women in both antenatal clinics and maternity wards with an additional option for women in the form of Video Enabled Care through Attend Anywhere. This has supported women to continue to receive interventions from their Perinatal Mental Health Service.  For new mothers, it allows therapy to be provided in their own environment, without the constraints of travel or having to bring a newborn to an appointment. Video calls have provided a blended approach to linking patients with their clinicians; allowing accessibility for those who have limited transport links or cannot drive following a C-section.

Events

A number of events have been organised this week around the country to support emotional wellbeing in pregnancy and the perinatal period. These include an information session led by the Perinatal Mental Health Midwife in Letterkenny University Hospital on Wednesday 4th May and a walk has been organised in Castlebar, Co. Mayo for parents and their babies led by the Perinatal Mental Health Midwife in Mayo University Hospital. For more information on these events, people can contact the maternity unit and ask to speak with the Perinatal Mental Health Midwife.

Video: Meet the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team at University Maternity Hospital Limerick

Video: Meet the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team at the Rotunda Hospital

Last updated on: 04 / 05 / 2022