At the end of last year, Southern Health’s award-winning mother and baby mental health team obtained news of funding - worth £800,000 per year - to extend its specialist perinatal community services to three new areas: Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and North East Hampshire & Farnham. Combined, the three areas see 6,500 new births every year.
The NHS Trust’s perinatal team manager, Jenny Walsh explained: “With the help of our local commissioners, this month we’re delighted to now be able to offer our specialist services to even more mums across Hampshire and to the Isle of Wight and Farnham, Surrey. Since the news of our successful bid for additional funding, we’ve worked hard to recruit the specialist local staff required for the launch of the expanded service and we now look forward to helping more mums and their families in the coming weeks and months.”
Southern Health’s perinatal mental health team helps mothers experiencing severe mental illness, through a programme of treatment and support in the community and in its specialist inpatient unit in Winchester – where mums and their babies can stay until they are well enough to be at home. Community-based care includes advice and support over the telephone; outpatient consultations in clinics, GP surgeries or at home; support and guidance for an individual’s family; medication; and a range of therapy sessions.
The community perinatal team is the first in the country to receive independent accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatry. It means that the perinatal service is now ‘double accredited,’ as its inpatient unit in Winchester has already received its own accreditation. This is after the service was named national ‘Psychiatric Team of the Year’ at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards three years ago.