1. Executive summary
This report draws on the findings of the Perinatal Mental Health Network’s NHS board visits, professionals’ workshops and online survey of women’s views, conducted in 2017-18, and the existing evidence base on service provision, to make recommendations on what services Scotland should develop to meet the needs of mothers with mental ill health, their infants, partners and families. It specifically addresses the Scottish Government’s commitment that:
- For those 11,000 women a year who would benefit from help such as counselling we will support the third sector to provide this
- For those 5,500 women in need of more specialist help we will ensure rapid access to psychological assessment and treatment
- For those 2,250 women with the most severe illness, we will develop more specialist services and consider the need for a small number of additional inpatient beds or enhanced community provision
Programme for Government, 2018
The report makes recommendations across all tiers of service delivery, with the aim of ensuring that Scotland has the best services for women with, or at risk of, mental ill health in pregnancy or the postnatal period, their infants, partners and families. It places particular emphasis on the development of expertise by all professionals involved in maternal and infant mental health care and the importance of close working links between different services that women encounter. It aims to ensure that women receive the right level of clinical expertise and seamless care, wherever they live in Scotland. It recognises the need not only to care for the woman experiencing ill health, but also to promote best outcomes for her infant and support for fathers, and others who are parents, in their own right.
The report should also be seen as complementing the work of the Best Start 5-Year Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Services and the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Force.
We would like to thank the professionals and the women with lived experience, and their families, who contributed to our needs assessment exercise. Our visits, workshops and survey were met with enthusiasm, a real drive to see things improve, and a refreshing honesty about what is not yet right. We take sole responsibility for our conclusions but could not have completed this work without their help and support.
Lead Clinician, Perinatal Mental Health Network Scotland