New mothers in Scotland who are at risk of poor mental health will be given access to increased support including counselling and befriending services, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The investment is part of a £50 million investment in mental health services for new mums, babies and young children announced earlier this year. An initial £1 million will support several key areas, including helping the third sector provide counselling, befriending and peer support for women and their families.
‘It’s crucial that these services are led by the needs of women, young children and families,’ said Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman. ‘We have sought the views of people who have experienced mental health issues during and after pregnancy - their voices have influenced where this money will go and the services it will deliver.’
The funding will see new and expectant mothers get more consistent access to psychological assessment and treatment. It will also be used to increase staffing and training at Mother and Baby Units for the 2250 women with the most serious illnesses and to develop mental health services for babies.
‘I welcome this funding for third sector organisations who are striving to deliver high quality perinatal services to new parents and parents-to-be. To give children the best start in life, it is vital we support parents effectively,’ said Aberlour Chief Executive SallyAnn Kelly.
‘Aberlour has worked with over 300 families across Forth Valley and East Lothian but our ambition is to roll the Perinatal Befriending Service out across Scotland so that every parent, no matter where they live, has access to personalised support and assistance when and where they need it most.’