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Postnatal Depression

Question for Department of Health

UIN 206802, tabled on 21 July 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to support women with post-natal depression in the UK.

Answered on

3 September 2014

Health Education England (HEE) has committed to ensure that we have the right knowledge and training available so that we can be skilled in how we look after women’s mental as well as physical health. The HEE Mandate includes an objective that there will be specialist staff available for every birthing unit by 2017.

The Department has funded the Institute of Health Visitors to train a network of 375 perinatal mental health visitor champions, and has also introduced three interactive e-learning modules. This new resource will help health visitors in the detection and management of perinatal depression and other maternal mental health conditions.

The Mandate from the Government to NHS England includes an objective for NHS England to work with partner organisations to reduce the incidence and impact of postnatal depression through earlier diagnosis, and better intervention and support.

The NHS Mandate also includes an objective that every woman has a named midwife who is responsible for ensuring she has personalised care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and during the postnatal period. This will help clinicians to identify perinatal mental health problems as early as possible and to give women the support they need.

To achieve this we have increased the number of midwives by over 1,700 and the number of health visitors by over 2,000 since May 2010. In addition, a record 6,000 midwifery students are currently in training and we are committed to having an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2015.