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New service launched to help new mothers with their mental health

PUBLISHED: 15:59 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 23 February 2018

From left, Jessica-Rose Williams, Emma Redmond-Smith, Helen Jackson and Dr Joanna Woodger

From left, Jessica-Rose Williams, Emma Redmond-Smith, Helen Jackson and Dr Joanna Woodger

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A specialist service has been launched to help new mums with postnatal depression and other mental health issues.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust unveiled the Suffolk Perinatal Mental Health Service yesterday which will provide specialist care to women from east and west Suffolk with conditions such as serious post and antenatal depression and psychosis.

The service started seeing patients in October, but held an official launch event at The Mix in Stowmarket where speakers included two mothers who spoke openly about their experience of postnatal depression.

Dad Mark Williams also talked about his six-year battle with postnatal depression following the birth of his son Ethan in 2004.

He began having panic attacks after Ethan’s traumatic birth, going onto suffer a mental breakdown in 2011.

He was prescribed medication and cognitive behavioural therapy which helped with his recovery, and is now an author, blogger, trainer, public speaker and founder of Fathers’ Reaching Out, which offers awareness and education to others in similar situations.

Since the service began, the team has helped around 50 service users and trained 200 students, midwives, social workers and colleagues from the third sector on the signs and symptoms they should be looking out for.

Helen Jackson, perinatal clinical nurse specialist, said: “We are really pleased to be able to officially launch this important new service, which is already having a really positive impact. As well as caring for people with conditions such as severe post-natal depression, we also offer pre-conception counselling to women who already have a mental health condition. We start working with women as early as possible, with support continuing for up to a year following the birth of their child.”

Dr Rosalind Tandy, mental health lead for NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The commissioning of this new service is a positive step forward in the ongoing improvement of local mental health services.

“NHS organisations are working together to ensure new mothers have the opportunity to best enjoy this very special time of their lives.”

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