Peer support in perinatal mental health: evidence review

This internship project report reviews the evidence base for peer support in perinatal mental health, considering evidence of effectiveness, models of support currently in place and potential ways of further developing peer support in Scotland.

Annex 2: Case study: Connecting peer support to wider services – The Perinatal Mental Health Network, Greater Glasgow and Clyde


Greater Glasgow and Clyde Perinatal Mental Health Network (PMHN) is an informal network of NHS, Local Authority and Third-Sector organisations supporting parents' and infants' mental health in the perinatal period. The network meets quarterly and communicates via a monthly email to all members.

The PMHN was initiated in 2016, after colleagues shared the benefits of a similar network focusing on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. The network began as a mapping exercise to find out what provision existed in perinatal mental health services in Glasgow, and was initially focused on Glasgow city, before word of mouth helped the network expand to cover Greater Glasgow and Clyde. There were many local organisations working in perinatal mental health but often organisations were unsure of what other support was out there, leading to a disparate way of working. The network was set up to support connectedness and joined-up working in the sector.


The network is managed by the Mental Health Improvement Team at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. There is a quarterly face-to-face meeting in Glasgow for network members to share updates, news, ask questions of the wider network or discuss issues which affect the sector, such as funding opportunities. The network manager also co-ordinates a monthly perinatal mental health 'snippet' via email, covering relevant research, training and funding opportunities with a rolling spotlight to highlight existing services. The terms of reference and purpose of the network are regularly reviewed to ensure things stay on track.


Organisations in the Perinatal Mental Health Network are:

Aberlour; 3D Drumchapel; Addaction; Amma Birth Companions; Barnardo's Nurture; Barnardo's Threads; Café Stork; Children 1st; Crossreach Bluebell; Early Years Scotland; Family Nurse Partnership; Fathers Network Scotland; Homestarts (Glasgow North, South, Renfrewshire/Inverclyde); West of Scotland Mother and Baby Unit (Leverndale); Lifelink; Mellow Parenting; Mental Health Network (GGC); Mind Mosaic; Maternal Mental Health Change Agents; NSPCC; One Parent Families Scotland; Pandas South Glasgow; Quarriers; Robertson Trust; Rosemount; Ruchazie Family Resource Centre; Safe Harbour; SAMH; See Me; SNIPS (Special Needs in Pregnancy); NHS Health Improvement (across GGC); Talk it Over; Young Parent Support Base.

Benefits and Challenges
Benefits Challenges
The PMHN helps statutory and non-statutory services to develop knowledge of what other services are doing. The network has members from a wide variety of services, and one way of working won't work for everyone.
Services are able to link-up to work more effectively, and avoid duplicating efforts. Building trust in partnership working takes time.
When services are communicating regularly, current strengths and service gaps perinatal mental health become clearly visible and can be addressed. Organisations who are used to operating independently may have reservations about sharing details of funding bids or service development.
Knowledge of how other services are working helps organisations to take a collaborative approach to funding, demonstrating their unique offering within the sector. The network shares information and links up services, but it cannot endorse organisations or act as a regulatory body.
The network enables 'big picture' thinking, helping organisations to be strategic in developing their services. The network is inclusive, but membership of the group can't be a guarantee of quality or an endorsement. The approach of the PMHN is 'curious but critical'.

Future plans

  • Promoting the network to make sure it reaches the wider perinatal health agenda.
  • Working with the Special Needs in Pregnancy service (SNIPS) and Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) to strengthen connections with maternity services.

Working more closely with health visitors and sharing information with them to facilitate referrals.

Advice and lessons so far

  • The network needs a figurehead, a central person to co-ordinate the activities.
  • Small staff time commitment can produce big results.
  • Glasgow is an area with a concentration of services, but more rural areas with less infrastructure, fewer resources, isolation and a lack of provision could also benefit from a similar network to identify gaps in provision.
  • Organisation of the network should adapt to local geography - a series of smaller local networks with an umbrella groups may be more appropriate in some areas.



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