Charity NCT is calling for better support for parents with mental health problems in Wales…
One of the largest parent charities in the UK is calling for action to help parents with mental health problems in Wales. NCT is asking for the Welsh Assembly to reintroduce a designated Mother and Baby unit.
The charity said units like this are vital as they allow women with mental health problems to stay with their baby while receiving support.
Currently, parents in Wales are required to travel to Bristol or Birmingham to receive specialist treatment. Often they must go further and at times without their infant.
Senior policy adviser at NCT Elizabeth Duff said: “Mother and Baby units are vitally important as they enable mums and babies to remain together at a crucial time in the bonding process even when the mother is seriously ill.
“New mothers with severe mental health concerns are currently being placed in a no-win situation in Wales. They must either travel – sometimes hundreds of miles – for treatment with their new baby or be treated nearer to home but separated from their baby.
“This situation is unacceptable and the availability of adequate mental health support for new parents must be made an urgent priority.”
Post-natal depression or anxiety reportedly affects one in three parents in Wales in the first year after having a baby, according to research from Mind Cymru.
A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “It’s vital that we support mental wellbeing before, during and after pregnancy and that services are available for women who have mental health problems at this important time in their lives.
“Last year we announced new perinatal mental health services will be set up across Wales and services are developing well with over 30 new specialist staff being recruited backed by £1.5m of new investment.
“The new community-based specialist services in every Welsh health board will help to improve mental health outcomes for women with perinatal illnesses, their babies and their families.
“The new services are already offering advice and practical support for mothers who have mental health problems.
“It is very rare indeed for a mother to need to be admitted to hospital with her baby, however if those circumstances the Welsh Health Specialist Services work with local services to find a bed as close to home as practical and the new community services can now support the mother’s return home more quickly to their families.”