A new mother and baby unit and outreach service for women with mental health problems is now open.
It means new and expectant mums suffering severe mental illness, who can not be treated safely at home, can remain in Lancashire rather than having to travel outside the county for treatment – which can add to their distress.
Women from Preston and South Ribble who need in-patient care will now be referred to the new eight-bed Ribblemere Unit at Chorley Hospital, which provides a safe place for them to be treated.
Their babies will stay with them at the unit to allow the new mother and baby relationship to be maintained and nurtured.
Dr Gill Strachan, Consultant Psychiatrist for the MBU at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are incredibly excited to have opened this brand new mother and baby unit here in the North West.
“Perinatal mental health problems are a major public health concern with up to 20% of women developing a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby.”
Read more: Preston mum opens up on post natal depression and what she’s doing about it.
The service has been developed in consultation with mums who have suffered severe post-natal mental illness and in partnership with Action for Post-Partum Psychosis.
A new outreach service will launch in January for new and expectant mums across the county with mild to moderate mental health difficulties.
This will provide access to specialist advice, treatment and support to help them recover at home.
Dr Strachan added: “Our priority is to provide timely, effective care for women and their families, and providing this fantastic service here in Lancashire will mean that women who are at risk of, or suffering from perinatal mental illnesses are given appropriate support at the earliest opportunity.”
For more information about perinatal health care, please visit: www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/perinatal-mental-health.