South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) has announced the development of a new maternal mental health service.

The new service will improve care for anyone who has suffered during their maternity journey and SLaM aims to “truly meet the needs of women and families in south east London”.

The NHS Trust is currently calling for those living in south east London who have suffered trauma, loss or fear during their maternity journey to share their experience via an online survey.

This includes those who have suffered trauma during pregnancy, birth or in the postnatal period, has experienced extreme fear of childbirth, has experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, death of a baby or termination of pregnancy or has had a baby taken into care.

It is particularly interested in hearing the experiences of women from under-represented groups and has listed the boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich as key areas of interest.

People living outside south east London are also encouraged to complete the survey if they have received care at any of the following maternity sites:

St Thomas' Hospital

King's College Hospital

University Hospital Lewisham

Princess Royal University Hospital

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust follows in the footsteps of North West London’s Maternal Mental Health Service, a pilot service launched last year to help women experiencing psychological difficulties following pregnancy loss, still birth, neonatal loss, birth trauma and tokophobia (a fear of childbirth).

Up to one in five mothers suffer from problems including post-traumatic stress disorder linked to childbirth and postnatal depression.

As a result, perinatal mental illness was listed as one of the NHS’ key ambitions in its 2019 Long Term Plan report.

The Long Term Plan included a commitment to specialist perinatal mental health services, stating aims to implement maternal mental health services in every area of England by 2023/24.

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