Received from: RCM
Congress notes that:
i. perinatal mental health problems affect up to 20 per cent of women during
pregnancy and postnatally
ii. almost 25 per cent of maternal deaths are attributable to mental health related causes
iii. up to 40 per cent of fathers report having concerns about their own mental health
iv. children of parents with severe mental illness are at an increased risk of
themselves developing mental illness and/or substance misuse
v. postnatal depression can be linked to both behavioural and emotional
problems in the children of affected mothers.
Congress believes that with the right care, including specialist maternal mental health services, these conditions can be effectively recognised and treated.
However, Congress notes with concern that resource constraints have resulted in:
a. variable or even non-existent provision of specialist services for women who experience severe mental health problems, resulting in poor or even unsafe individual care
b. a shortage of specialist perinatal mental health midwives
c. cuts to the amount of training for midwives in the appropriate identification,
referral and care for women experiencing mild to moderate mental health
issues, which can then escalate to more severe problems
d. costs of £1.2bn a year as a consequence of inaction.
Congress therefore calls on the General Council to support and campaign
alongside the RCM, Maternal Mental Health Alliance and other organisations that are calling for increased investment in perinatal mental health services and in training for all maternity staff to identify, care for and refer women who experience poor mental health.
Royal College of Midwives