Perinatal Mental Health

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Social innovation


During pregnancy and in the year after birth women can be affected by a range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and postnatal psychotic disorders. These are collectively called perinatal mental illnesses. Perinatal mental illnesses affect between 10 and 20% of women and, if untreated, can have a devastating impact on them and their families. When mothers suffer from these illnesses it increases the likelihood that children will experience behavioural, social or learning difficulties and fail to fulfil their potential. Early detection improves society’s ability to support those susceptible to post-partum depression. Feelings of “being a bad mother” and a fear of the child being taken away lead to a reluctance to seek help. Perinatal Mental Illnesses can lead to social exclusion and reluctance to return to work, which comes at a huge cost to the countries’ healthcare and social systems. Perinatal depression, anxiety and psychosis carry a total long-term cost to society of about £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK. This is equivalent to a cost of just under £10,000 for every single birth in the country. 72% of this cost relates to adverse impacts on the child rather than the mother. PATH will work to prevent postpartum depression, something that is more cost-effective than medically treating established issues. By working directly with existing patients, pregnant women and mothers, as well as professionals, the project will create a demand driven and self-sustaining secure community support system which will recreate traditional community cohesion that leads to much lower rates of PMI in other parts of Europe. PATH will also tackle the previously unaddressed issue of the stigma and lack of awareness surrounding PMIs via a multi-media campaign. The project will take a holistic approach to the issue by targeting not only young women and new mothers but also health care professionals and employers as well as encouraging inter-generational support.

Creation date: 25/05/2016

Bloc onglets

Bloc 1

Overall objective

PATH will improve prevention and support to mothers, and to their families, suffering from mild to moderate cases of post-partum depression. The project will reduce the stigma attached to PMIs, whilst training health care professionals and volunteers to better approach the topic and clarify referral pathways. The project will also work to reduce the stigma attached to suffering from a PMI as well as recreating tradition inter-generational support for new families via community support systems.

Bloc 2


PATH will develop a comprehensive, innovative perinatal service model that brings together for the first time both online & offline support tools. Online support will include: • A multi-media campaign that will be co-created with pregnant women, young mothers & women who have or are experiencing PMIs • Co-creating training modules for health professionals & employers • Facilitating an international online network of peer support groups specifically for PMI, enabling new families to provide support to each other Offline support will include: • Co-designing training programmes & support services through cross border focus groups • Delivering the training programmes & support services to 1000 professionals, improving their ability to diagnose PMI confidently & provide the appropriate support • Piloting of a support programme covering all aspects of learning about pregnancy & parenthood for 2500 new families. This support will be maintained throughout pregnancy and for the first year of parenthood • Creating a network of inter-generational community support groups providing support to new families by engaging with community members who will be supported by existing IT tools and will work to recreate traditional community cohesion • Delivering webinar e-learning based training for 2Seas area SME employers to enable them to support women in their return to work

Bloc 3

Expected result

A proven new service delivery model that detects and treats early signs of perinatal mental health conditions. Earlier diagnosis will have cost benefits to the health systems and employers, as well as clear health benefit to the individual and families. A durable international and inter-generational community support network that will support new and expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy and early parenthood.

Bloc 4

Cross-border added-value

EU health policy development suggests that cross-border cooperation is important to understand perinatal mental health and to establish the best solutions. The rates of postpartum depression across all four counties are at least 10% and have remained static for years; rates across other parts of Europe are significantly lower. In southern European countries there is still a strong family support system and new mothers tend to stay close to their mothers, grandmothers for support, whilst in Scandinavia states maternity support (e.g. parental leave, childcare) is far more widespread. A community support system will benefit from as much experience as possible from across the 2Seas region in order to tackle the common problem.