Pauline Watts on why Maternal Mental Health Matters

Pauline Watts photoHi and welcome to another guest blog. It seems a while since my last update. However, lots of work is moving forward at pace on a number of key areas within the Public Health Nursing and Health Visitor Programmes.

What I would like to do in this blog is alert you to an area of work which has been progressing over the last few months on the subject of Perinatal Mental Health, an area that many of you have expressed a need for further training and development in.

You might remember previously that we developed the Maternal Mental Health Pathway. Those that have accessed it have said that it is incredibly helpful. The pathway can be found by clicking on the following link:

More recently, the Institute for Health Visiting was commissioned by the Department of Health to run a number of 2 day workshops at 10 different locations across the country. These events were very well attended and covered a number of areas, including, how to recognise perinatal depression, highlighting the links to postpartum OCD, they also provided guidance on appropriate next steps i.e. treatment and referral. One of the main aims of these events was that those attending would develop sufficient understanding to pass on the knowledge to peers and students back in their workplace.

Evaluation and feedback has been brilliant and the commitment to action has been overwhelming!

Perinatal mental health – new training resources available soon!

As a follow-up to these events, soon to be launched on the e-learning for health portal are 3 interactive e-learning modules containing facts, figures, tools and techniques to help nurses and health visitors deal with perinatal depression and other maternal mental health conditions.

The 3 modules are split into 45 minute modules and include videos, case studies, links to aid the learning, as well as questions to test the participant’s knowledge of the subjects and reflect on their learning.

The 3 areas of focus for the modules are:

  • Perinatal depression and other maternal mental health disorders
  • How to recognise perinatal anxiety and depression
  • Interventions for perinatal anxiety, depression and related disorders

Sally Russell at Netmums supports the launch of the new training resources:

“It is exciting to know that so many health visitors have been trained in perinatal mental health and that others will now also have access to the materials. The work will provide nurses and health visitors with important skills, allowing them to talk with confidence to the mothers they meet. Identifying those suffering with depression or anxiety can be difficult as mothers tell us they often feel embarrassed and worried about being honest when discussing their feelings. As health visitors develop the skills to be able to effectively identify, assess and then support women, they will make a significant contribution to public health, improving outcomes not only for the women, but for their families too. 

 Please be sure to keep checking for further updates from me and spread the good work with your colleagues.

Pauline Watts
Professional Officer, Health Visiting
Department of Health

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