A new mental health program will make sure that women experiencing postnatal depression will receive help. Britain’s prime-minister David Cameron calls this a “revolution” in British mental health care.
As a part of the new program every new mother will receive help from a NHS specialist for childbirth-related psychological problems.
Postnatal depression increases the risk of maternal suicide, puts mother and the baby in danger and tears away families. About 30,000 women every year lack the necessary help to prevent the negative consequences of conditions such as postnatal depression in the U.K.
Cameron also urges a serious national debate regarding mental health to stop the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. According to the prime minister mental illness is not contagious and people should not be afraid of sufferers. He says that people should be more supportive towards the folks suffering from mental illnesses, encouraging them to talk, to ask for help and to be there for them when they need it.
Chief executive of NHS U.K., Simon Stevens told the guardian that only about 10,000 of the 4,000 new mothers suffering from a serious form of mental health problem are receiving adequate help from a specialist. The goal of the new program is to make specialists available for every one of these women.
The program, which aims to create community teams of perinatal mental health specialists and also more beds in units for mothers and their babies, will receive £290 million in funding. England already has about 120 experts but at least 60 more are needed to cover the minimum request. Their job is to help women struggling with postpartum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, postnatal depression and similar conditions.
The second cause of maternal death is suicide, right after sepsis. About 23 percent of maternal deaths are cause by mental health problems and suicide is responsible for one in every seven cases. Between 2009 and 2013 over 100 new mothers killed themselves as a result of postnatal depression and other mental health issues related to childbearing and birth.
The former maternity care minister Dr. Dan Poulter says that historically mental health problems were “the Cinderella of the NHS”, always being underfunded. He claims that expanding the mental health services will help save many lives.
However, not only new mothers will receive improve mental health care. As suicide is the primary cause of death in men under 50, £250 million will be released to ensure that at least half of the U.K.’s hospitals and A&A units will have mental health specialists and personnel on duty 24/7.
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