South London and Maudsley marks Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week | Press releases

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South London and Maudsley marks Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

Dr Gertrude Seneviratne

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is marking Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, a week long campaign from May 2 to May 8, dedicated to talking about mental illness while pregnant or after having a baby.

The week is organised and led by MMHA member the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK).

South London and Maudsley, which provides specialist perinatal services and a Mother and Baby Unit, is sharing information about maternal mental health on across our social channels – find out more on Twitter and Instagram.

Being pregnant and having a baby can be a joyous and exciting time, but many women also struggle with their mental health during this time, which can be exhausting, isolating and overwhelming.

Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Perinatal Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at South London and Maudsley said:  “One in five, if not one in four women suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive, postpartum psychosis and bipolar illness but there is much we can do to prevent as well as treat.

“Our specialist community perinatal services and our mother and baby unit provide truly holistic care from preconception onwards.

“This can include medication, psychological treatments for the mother, as, the mother infant relationships using video work and infant massage as well as supporting partners and families.”

Together with fluctuating hormones and adjusting to the enormous change that bringing a baby into the world brings, many women also experience feelings of guilt if they aren't consumed with happiness during this period. 

Expert by Experience, Toyin Adeyinka said: "If your birth experience is not the one that you planned for, it doesn't mean that you have failed at parenting! So be kind to yourself and ask for help if you're struggling, there is no shame in doing so!"

Emma Ludlam, Nursery Nurse from the Mother and Baby Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital, said: "Our work with families is highly unique, recognising that the family play an essential role in recovery for these women and babies. 

“The team offers a real whole-team approach to treatment and then works closely with the community perinatal and social care teams when we start looking at discharge."

Some women may experience mental health struggles for the first time while pregnant or after giving birth, and for others existing mental health conditions may be exacerbated. 




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