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New mental health service for pregnant women

Posted on 25th January, 2012

A new service has been launched in Torbay to provide assessment and treatment for pregnant women experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Based at Torbay Hospital’s Maternity Department, the perinatal mental health service has been warmly welcomed by staff at the hospital, as well as expectant mothers and their families.  The launch of the Torbay service follows the setting-up of a highly successful service in Exeter in 2009. Consultant psychiatrist and regional lead for perinatal mental health services, Dr Jo Black, said:  “This is an incredibly valuable service and we are all very excited about the additional support that we can now provide for pregnant women at Torbay Hospital.  This is only the second service of its kind in the county but we are hopeful that other major hospitals in the area will follow suit in due course.  “For many women, pregnancy is a period of excited expectation and good mental wellbeing, but for a significant number it is not. Expectant mums can feel guilty, ashamed and embarrassed by feeling low at this time in their life. In many cases, the ability to discuss these feelings – and receive reassurance and support – can be enough to turn things around, without the need for any mental health intervention.  “In some cases, however, problems can be severe and may even pose a risk to the wellbeing of both mother and child. Our new perinatal service aims to identify potential mental health problems as early as possible and provide rapid assessment, support and access to appropriate treatment.   “Some of the women we are supporting have a history of mental illness, but others are displaying symptoms for the first time.  We are working very closely with our maternity service colleagues at the hospital and have two full-time Perinatal Mental Health Nurses working alongside Specialist Midwives.”   Rachael Glasson, Matron for Antenatal and Community Maternity Services at Torbay Hospital, added:  “This is a great opportunity for maternity and mental health professionals to work together to support women during their pregnancy and post-birth.  Before the service was established we had access to mental health advice and support, but it was very much an ‘add-on’ to the rest of the mother’s care.  Now it forms an integral part of the maternity service that we deliver, which is far better for everyone concerned.”   For further information click here or click links below for contact details:

  • Exeter
  • Torbay

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