More than one in ten women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year of having a baby, and Nicola is committed to driving forward improvements in women and children’s mental health. NHS England is working on the Perinatal Mental Health Transformation Programme, utilising a £365 million Government investment between now and 2021 to improve services and enable access.
Nicola knows that, if untreated, perinatal mental health issues can have a devastating impact on the woman and her family, and is working with leading mental health organisations to drive improvements in women’s and children’s mental health.
She convened a roundtable discussion, inviting a range of experts, including retired Oxford GP and Royal College of GP’s Clinical Champion Judy Shakespeare, to share experiences and discuss how best care and support can be provided to parents and families. NHS England is doing a great deal of work building capacity and capability in the workforce, as well as making full use of available data.
Further to this, Nicola is establishing a women’s mental health taskforce to drive improvements in patient and community care for those women with mental health issues more broadly.
Nicola says: We have seen an unprecedented investment across adult and children’s mental health services and women’s mental health and perinatal mental health are areas in which I think we can do better. The taskforce is a great way to continue a much needed debate and it is these conversations and support networks that make all the difference for those who are only just coping.