Perinatal Mental Health | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Perinatal Mental Health

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

The Health and Europe Centre





Project budget

8 537 957

ERDF amount

5 122 774

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    Across the 2seas area 10-20% of women suffer from Perinatal Mental Illnesses (PMI): mental illness following birth & up to a year after: around 90% of them will not receive the support they need. 1 very common PMI is postnatal depression which has a cost of approx €74K to society related to the impact on both mother & child. The first 3 years of a child’s life are critical for attachment to parents, which lays the foundations for social & emotional development. Without this a child has decreased life chances & does not reach its full academic attainment potential. Currently severe PMI is treated well but the majority is mild to moderate & transitory in nature with no comprehensive, mainstream provision to prepare/support parents. Mums suffer from the fear of their baby being taken away so are reluctant to seek support. PATH addresses the challenge of preventing/supporting PMI providing a modern inclusive health infrastructure to improve perinatal experience & attachment in new families.

    Main Achievements

    PATH is tackling perinatal mental health issues: the stigma surrounding them, the lack of knowledge about them and the lack of resources available to both parents and professionals. 2020 created extra challenges for pregnant women and new parents that no one could ever have imagined. The perinatal mental health struggles facing new mums and dads were exasperated by lockdowns, restricted conditions in hospitals and lack of access to support from family and friends. The PATH partners reacted quickly at the start of the pandemic to create COVID support pages in all four countries for expectant and new parents, as well as providing information for professionals. Communication attention was also turned to creating short clips to destigmatise perinatal mental health issues, particularly during this challenging time, and signpost to the resources provided on the page. The French World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health also joined the project as a new partner, providing invaluable knowledge to support the mental health of PATH's target groups at this time. 

    Although the decision was taken to delay the original PATH multimedia campaign in light of COVID-19, work on this campaign has continued and has been adapted to ensure that it will provide important information on destigmatisation, increased awareness and prepared parenting. The campaign has been rescheduled for May 2021 in order to coincide with Maternal Health Month for maximum impact. Excellent work has also continued on the online support hub, providing resources for families, as well as healthcare professionals and employers.Face to face work has undoubtedly been challenged and much of the support that is provided to parents during the perinatal period cannot simply be replicated virtually, however partners have worked hard to continue to develop face to face training for healthcare professionals via virtual sessions, as well as exploring new ways of supporting parents in their prepared parenting journeys and creating intergenerational peer support networks. Leading by example, as the project's prepared parenting expert, the Masstaad Hospital in Rotterdam has acquired a new location called "the PATH Huis" that will be able to host new parents on their journey from conception to birth and beyond. PATH was also recognised as one of the top 10 most influential Twitter actors in Maternal Mental Health Week 2020. 



    Plymouth And District Mind

    Southampton City Council

    Odisee University College

    Kent County Council

    Institute of Health Visiting

    Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust

    Hospital Centre of Douai

    Antwerp University of Applied Sciences

    Bournemouth University

    Attachment in Development

    Maasstad Hospital

    Antwerp University Hospital