Perinatal mental health research study highlights need for investment in health visitors and midwifes

cphva2018.jpgPioneering research conducted by a partnership including NSPCC, Royal College of Midwifery and Unite the union’s CPHVA

Report highlights need for continuity of care, face-to-face time and need for mother and baby unit in Northern Ireland

November 26th: Chair of Unite the union’s Community Practitioners & Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) in Ireland, Mary Duggan, welcomed the publication of the research at the NSPCC headquarters in Belfast today.

“It is estimated that in 2016 between 3,611 and 7,223 women in Northern Ireland were affected by adjustment disorders and distress as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or becoming a parent. The numbers suffering more severe postpartum psychosis or chronic serious mental illness was very much less but still unacceptably high.

“Maternal mental health is a major public health issue. While there have been many reports published, this is the first time in Northern Ireland that practitioners who are involved in providing care to women and their families have been asked for their opinion.

“Sadly the results mirror other reports and identifies that workload pressures, lack of time and lack of financial investment all impact on the care provided to new mothers. It is not acceptable that mental health does not have priority and it is indeed Time For Action.

“Women deserve to have access and intervention from practitioners who have the appropriate specialist knowledge and skills at each stage of their journey. Health visitors work with families and we know that this illness can impact negatively  on partners and children if appropriate support is not available in a timely manner.

“This is an invaluable piece of research but it has been left to be initiated by a partnership of the NSPCC and the two unions who represent the specialist healthcare workers at the forefront of dealing with this issue. We need to see action now from government to invest in perinatal mental health”, Ms Duggan said.

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