Vicky visits community perinatal mental health service in Chelmsford

Vicky Ford MP visited the community perinatal mental health service run by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) based at The Linden Centre, Chelmsford, on Tuesday 28 May 2019, to gain an understanding of the Trust’s advanced perinatal services.

Mrs Ford met with EPUT Chair, Professor Sheila Salmon, Director of Mental Health Lizzy Wells and Dr Rina Gupta, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; along with other clinicians working in the service.

Dr Gupta, together with Perinatal Mental Health Service Manager Caroline Bogle, gave a presentation on the specialist community perinatal mental health service that EPUT provides in Essex.

Across the UK, up to 20 per cent of women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, and perinatal mental health problems are known to cost the UK over £8bn per year (source: LSE and Centre for Mental Health, The cost of perinatal health problems 2014).

Lizzy Wells, Director of Mental Health, said: “The new NHS long-term plan has promised to help an additional 24,000 women with perinatal mental health difficulties by 2023-24.

“The visit from MP Vicky Ford was very positive and inspiring. We are extremely proud of our advanced Perinatal Mental Health Service that has developed across Essex over the past two years, and will continue to expand.”

EPUT has been providing specialist perinatal mental health services to women with moderate to severe mental health difficulties across Essex since April 2017, and the service was highly commended in the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2018. Services provided include pre-conception advice, coordinated perinatal care, medication review and psychological therapies.

As well as supporting individuals and their families in a community setting, EPUT also provides inpatient perinatal mental health services at its Rainbow Mother and Baby unit, where women who are struggling with their mental health can be supported to get better while continuing to live with and develop their relationship with their baby.

Ms Ford had the opportunity to visit the Rainbow Mother and Baby Unit, and see the service in action.

Vicky Ford, Member of Parliament for Chelmsford, said: “I was deeply impressed by the team of doctors, nurses and other clinicians who are supporting Essex mums.

“One in five mothers face mental health issues either before or after the birth of their child; getting expert help is vital for recovery.  

“The Government has promised to invest in improving mental health services and it was good to see this happening in the NHS in Mid Essex.”

Professor Sheila Salmon, Chair of EPUT, said: “We were really pleased to have welcomed MP Vicky Ford to our Rainbow Mother and Baby Unit at Linden Centre.

“We are very proud of the support given by our perinatal team on the unit. It’s amazing to see what a difference we make to mothers and their young babies during this crucial time.

“It really is life changing, enabling mothers to leave having acquired skills that will help them to enjoy being a mother for life.”