Perinatal Mental Health Programme

Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family. Perinatal mental health problems can also have long-standing effects on children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.

NHS England has committed to fulfilling the ambition in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Healthso that by 2020/21 there will be increased access to specialist perinatal mental health support in all areas of England, allowing at least an additional 30,000 women each year to receive evidence-based treatment, closer to home, when they need it. This includes the right range of specialist community and inpatient care.

An overview of national policy and guidance and the current (2016) provision of perinatal mental health services in the South East is available within the South East Perinatal Mental Health Scoping Paper.


The South East Clinical Network is supporting the implementation of a phased, five-year transformation programme, to build capacity and capability in perinatal mental health services, focused on improving access to and experience of care, early diagnosis and intervention, and greater transparency and openness. This work programme includes supporting the development local ‘Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Networks’ which will act as the vehicle for driving improvement across the system through partnership working and collaboration.
The 3 South East Perinatal Mental Health Networks are aligned to the STP footprint (Kent & Medway, Surrey and Sussex & East Surrey) and comprise of the key stakeholders, including those that use the service, mothers, families and carers and those that provide the service, medical staff, support staff and service commissioners.
The key aims for the Perinatal Mental Health Networks are to advise on standards of care and care pathways, be the engine for change across complex system of care, providing whole system improvement and to harness clinical leadership and provide a forum to establish robust services with an effective and efficient workforce.
For further information or to be involved as a stakeholder please contact england.secn@nhs.net