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Funding boost for community perinatal mental health services

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Mental health support for new mothers The fund will provide mental health support for new mothers

NHS England is launching a £5million Perinatal Community Services Development Fund to help new mums with severe or complex mental health conditions.

The specialist community services will provide care and support to women with mental health conditions during the postnatal or pregnancy period. They also respond to crises, aim to decrease risks to mothers and babies and offer after care following an inpatient stay in a mother and baby unit.

Overall £365 million has been allocated for specialist perinatal mental health services over the next five years so that by 2021, 30,000 more women each year will be able to access care and treatment.

Dr Giles Berriford, associate national clinical director for perinatal mental health, said: 'We absolutely need to ensure that all women have access to high-quality perinatal mental healthcare and are committed to addressing current issues and variation. If left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on the women affected and her family.'

The cost of perinatal mental ill health to society is estimated at £8.1billion for each annual birth cohort or almost £10,000 per birth.

Local schemes will be able to request funding for up to three years and the total funding available will increase to £15 million in the next year and £40 million in 2018.

NHS Trusts, CCGs and Sustainability and Transformation areas can submit proposals to show how they will either widen the reach of their service or improve resources.

Successful schemes will implement new ways of improving specialist perinatal mental health community care in response to the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

They must be explicit about how the growth or creation of the team will provide additional care to greater numbers of women, and provide information on how new staff will be trained adequately to fill the specialist roles.

Plans must include how they will sustainably deliver the best treatment and outcomes for women and families and outcomes from the work will be used to inform and support other areas’ development.

Plans must be submitted by Friday 16th September 2016, 5pm and successful applicants will be informed in October 2016.

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