NHS England has announced a five-year funding programme for mental health services for 30,000 new and expectant mothers.
The £365m programme will span from 2016 to 2021, and will begin with a £5m development fund designed to close a wide gap in the availability of high quality care for women with severe or complex conditions.
It found that fewer than 15% of areas currently provide services to levels recommended in national guidelines, and more than 40% provide no service at all.
NHS Trusts, CCGs and Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) areas can submit proposals for funding for a maximum of three years but they must be specific in explaining how the funds will be used to provide extra care to women.
The aim of the programme is to support women with mental health illnesses and lessen the risks posed by mental ill health during and after birth.
It is estimated that 20% of women suffer from depression, anxiety or in some cases post-partum psychosis during pregnancy and the first year after birth. Moreover, poor perinatal mental health costs an estimated £10,000 per birth.
Dr Giles Berrisford, associate national clinical director for perinatal mental health, said: ’We absolutely need to ensure that all women have the access to high quality perinatal mental health care.
’I am delighted that we can use this fund to build capacity in the community, focusing on what works really well for women and their families.’