Specialist mental health services

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Sometime, more specialist assessment and treatment are appropriate. Your GP, health visitor and midwife will all be able to access advice and support from the local Parent-infant Service and Specialist Perinatal Team on your behalf and occasionally they may talk to you about making a referral to be seen by your local specialist team.

Parent-Infant Services

As described above, each area in Greater Manchester has dedicated parent infant mental health teams. These are teams that consist of parent-infant psychologists and psychotherapists, health visitors, social workers, and mental health practitioners to support the bond and attachment between you and your baby.  The services support you as parents and carers and your baby/young child to feel safe and secure, to manage the emotional demands of infancy and new parenthood, and to build positive relationships that you can both enjoy. You can find contact details for the teams across Greater Manchester here. 

Specialist perinatal mental health service

There are three specialist perinatal community teams in Greater Manchester that are experienced in providing mental health assessment and treatment for women with more severe mental health problems in the perinatal period. These teams consist of perinatal psychiatrists, perinatal psychologists, mental health nurses and nursery nurses and occupational therapists. If a referral is made then you will be contacted by a member of the team to discuss your mental health problems in more detail, a practitioner will arrange an appointment to meet with you face to face.

The practitioner will then discuss with you what might be helpful. The type of support will depend on what your mental health problem is and can range from nursing support, nursery nurse support, psychological therapy either 1:1 or in a group or possibly a consultation with a psychiatrist to discuss further treatment options or medication.

The specialist perinatal community team can provide counselling on the risk of becoming unwell in a future pregnancy via the pre-conception counselling service and can support you throughout the pregnancy and the first postnatal year. The team will liaise closely with your GP, midwife, health visitor and other services you might be involved with to ensure that your care team is working closely together and to ensure the smoothest journey possible to your recovery.

You can watch our short animation to learn more about the services in Greater Manchester: https://youtu.be/QgceSTxdU7A

Mother and Baby Unit

Very rarely, more intensive hospital support may be appropriate. The mother and baby unit is based at Wythenshawe Hospital and is a 10 bedded unit that admits women with their baby. The unit offers intensive inpatient treatment to women with severe mental health problems. Mothers are admitted with their babies to promote and support the parent-infant relationship in parallel to the recovery.

Perinatal Trauma and Loss Service: PETALS

www.gmmh.nhs.uk/petals

Sometimes people may experience overwhelming distress as a result of their journey into parenthood. People may experience events in the conception period, pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal months as distressing and traumatic. We recognise that people can also experience the loss of a baby, at any time in their journey, from conception, through to the post-natal period. The grief and trauma from this loss may understandably affect people for months or years after the event.

If you have experienced this, then please do not give up hope, you are not alone.

The Perinatal Trauma and Loss Service has been developed to offer talking therapies or psychological interventions to support people across Greater Manchester.

A person can access therapy with PETALS months or years, after the trauma has occurred. Our door remains open.

The Perinatal Trauma and Loss Service is a therapeutic service supporting people who have been directly affected by the maternity, reproductive or neonatal experience and who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties as a result of:

  • Trauma associated with pregnancy and childbirth and pre-term delivery requiring neonatal intensive care support.
  • Perinatal loss (for example, IVF which hasn’t worked out as hoped, recurrent miscarriage, early miscarriage, ending of a pregnancy, still-birth, neonatal and infant death)
  • Tokophobia (severe fear of childbirth)

After a traumatic event or events, people may notice changes in their emotional wellbeing. They may notice a post traumatic response such as flashbacks, when people feel as if they are being taken right back to the trauma, as if they were re-living what happened. People may notice nightmares, changes in mood and anxiety, intrusive or scary thoughts or images, shame, and self-criticism. This is an understandable response to the trauma and not a person’s fault. We acknowledge that people may not recognise their experience as traumatic.

Following the loss of a baby, in the immediate days, weeks and months, people may notice a natural and understandable acute emotional response of grief. If people feel stuck in the grief, months or years after the loss, our service may be able to help.

People may notice that the trauma is having an impact on their experiences of parenthood and may notice emerging difficulties in the relationships with adults and/or babies and children around them. It may impact on day-to-day life and reproductive decisions.

If you have experienced perinatal loss and/or trauma you can ask your GP, Health Visitor, or another health professional to refer you or you can self-refer, through the website.