Mental health experiences of mums offer hope to others
Two young mothers have given frank and revealing interviews about mental health issues they experienced after giving birth, and how they have received support from a specialist service at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Ellie and Emma hope by sharing what happened to them other women will also seek help from CPFT’s Perinatal Mental Health Team.
Perinatal occupational therapist Nadean Saberton, who conducted the interviews, said: “We would really like to thank Emma and Ellie for being so candid about what happened to them.
“It is not easy opening up about these kinds of issues, but mental health issues around pregnancy are far more common that many mums and their families realise”.
“One in five women will experience a mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression during their pregnancy, and in the first year after birth”.
“Ellie, Emma and our whole team, hope women who find themselves in similar situations will watch the interviews, and understand how to reach out for help and support.”
The films can be viewed on CPFT’s YouTube channel.
In her interview, Ellie, discusses how she sought help after the birth of her third child, Nate.
Ellie said: “I began having issues with my mental health, and post-natal depression following the birth of my first daughter. It sort of went away after the birth of my second daughter, but it was always sort of there, lying dormant, and then when I got pregnant with Nate, I really struggled.”
Ellie was referred to the perinatal team by her midwife and received individual therapy. She now regularly meets with other mums who have also experienced similar mental health issues.
Ellie said: “Even after the initial assessment, it just felt like a weight had been lifted. Suddenly, I had this person who understood, sympathised with me, and wanted to support me."
Mother-of-two Emma, who was referred to the service by her GP, said in her interview: “I had been struggling for a long, long time, and the stress of having a new-born and a toddler just magnified it all, and I just got to crisis point.”
Following an initial assessment, Emma was given specialist therapy, and she worked with the perinatal team on an action plan personalised specifically for her.
Emma said: “It just helped me get through things and work out how I was going to get through the day, and then the next week. Once we’d got through that then everything was better.”
The series of short films also include Ellie and Emma’s experiences of being referred to the service, working with care co-ordinators and support workers, and their advice to other mums.
CPFT – which provides mental health and community health care – was awarded about £3 million over three years as part of a national programme that aims to increase funding for perinatal services across the country.
The Trust’s Perinatal Mental Health Team offers psychiatric and psychological assessments, and care for women with complex or severe mental health problems during the perinatal period. It can also provide pre-conception advice for women with a current or past severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy.
The team includes consultant psychiatrists, psychologists, team manager, clinical nurse specialists, social workers, occupational therapists, support workers, nursery nurses and administrative staff.
To access the service, women are asked to speak to their GP, midwife or health visitor.
The development of the team has been a crucial step forward for mothers and mothers-to-be. Good mental health care for mums means better care for their children – and that will have lifelong benefits.
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