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More help for new and expectant mothers in England

Mental health “hubs” for new, expectant or bereaved mothers are to be set up around England.

The 26 sites, due to be opened by next April, will offer physical health checks and psychological therapy in one building.

NHS England said these centres would provide treatment for about 6,000 new parents in the first year.

Around 6,000 will receive treatment and care for issues such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Others will also have access to a range of options for mental health issues including women who have a severe fear of childbirth.

The 26 centres will bring together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy under one roof as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

There will be 10 early implementor sites, which will later be joined by 16 fast follower sites that will develop and test the new service.

Current estimates from the NHS state that around £1.2 billion is spent each year when women do not have access to high-quality perinatal mental health services.

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Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director said mothers all over the country will now be able to access help if and when they need it.

She said: “Every woman has a unique experience with pregnancy and motherhood and some will need extra support to cope with mental health issues that can range from anxiety to severe depression.

“The NHS is here for everyone who needs help and the expansion of specialist care through the roll out of these maternal mental health services will strengthen the services already in place, enabling us to improve the quality of care and outcomes for many women.

“I would encourage any mum who needs this support to come forward safe in the knowledge that her mental health and well-being are of paramount importance and she should not feel ashamed of accessing the help she needs.”

Help will be available from before conception – for those with pre-existing mental health conditions who want to get pregnant – until the baby’s second birthday, whereas currently these services are available for the first year of a child’s life.

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