A new specialist mental health support service for families in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster launched today.
For the first time, women in Doncaster will have access to specialist perinatal mental health services, with existing services in Sheffield and Rotherham being expanded.
The service will support around 600 women a year who are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or have recently given birth, who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem or are thought to be developing one.
There will also be support for dads, partners and families.
The ceremony took place at the Holiday Inn Rotherham today, where volunteers, leaders, mums and families gathered to see the new service launch.
The Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Perinatal Mental Health Service is run by a partnership between Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and local perinatal peer support charity, Light.
The launch of the service coincides with World Maternal Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of the mental health problems that 1 in 5 women will experience before, during and after pregnancy.
Kathryn Singh, Chief Executive of NHS Rotherham and Doncaster, said the service has been in creation for 25 years.
Ms Singh said: “I particularly want to thank our mums, our care-users, our babies playing at the back, our dads.
“This is a good step forward but a step forward that we have to make sustainable.
“We are on the cusp of something particularly fantastic.”
The new service received £880,000 of funding from NHS England as part of their national £365 million investment into perinatal mental health services.
A year ago, there was no perinatal mental health services in Doncaster, only one service in Rotherham, and a small service in Sheffield.
Amy Jenkin, service lead for the Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Perinatal Mental Health service, spoke about her excitement for the new service.
All three areas now have local hubs seeing an increase from six to 30 clinicians. Nurses, therapists, psychologists, support and social workers are all working to support 600 women and their families this year.
Emily, who told her story at the event today, suffered with postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis and anxiety after giving birth to her first child.
Emily said: “I had images flashing in my head – I could see and hear babies everywhere.
“I had suicidal thoughts, thoughts of leaving my child, thoughts of giving my child up to someone who could look after her better than I thought I could.
Emily and her partner received helped from local perinatal mental health services and GPs.
She added: “The team getting to know me meant they could tell when I was getting ill again.
“I am definitely here because of the Sheffield perinatal mental health team.”
Alex, a mother-of-two, who also suffered with postpartum psychosis, received help from Sheffield perinatal services and now volunteers with Light as a peer-support worker.
To access the service you must be referred by a health or social care professional working in Sheffield, Rotherham or Doncaster. This could be your GP, community mental health team, midwife or health visitor.
For more information on perinatal mental health, visit: