Plans to improve mental health of new mums

pregnant

6:55am 17th February 2017
(Updated 4:54pm 17th February 2017)

A new project is aiming to improve the mental well-being of pregnant women living in rural North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council, working with partners at Harrogate and District, South Tees and Airedale NHS Foundation Trusts, has commissioned researchers from Newcastle and Durham Universities to carry out an exploration of women's needs and experiences living in rural communities during pregnancy and early motherhood.

The council says the findings of the study will help in the design of public health and healthcare to address these needs.

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children and Young People's Services, said: "We know how important the mental health of mothers is. What we don't know is how common mental health difficulties are in North Yorkshire for women during pregnancy and the early years of their baby's life, and how we can improve services for these women. This study will make North Yorkshire a leader in research into learning what is effective in treating these problems.

"For example, in rural areas, there are issues around mothers easily accessing the provision, so one of the things the researchers will be looking at is whether we can better use modern telecommunications to provide support to mothers wherever they may be."

Women who are pregnant or have recently had a baby may be approached to take part in a survey when they have their 20-week scan, when they see their health visitor at 34 weeks or six weeks after having their baby.

Councillor Sanderson added: "The results of the survey will influence the services we commission and our health service colleagues will learn more about alternative ways of providing support to mothers who have perinatal mental health issues."

In addition, the researchers are keen to hear from anyone who experienced anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, whether diagnosed on undiagnosed, during pregnancy or within a year after giving birth.

They would like to hear views about how services can best be designed.

To take part in an interview, e-mail northyorksmmh@newcastle.ac.uk or call 0191 208 3807.

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