New and expectant mothers are to be offered more mental health support in England

As will bereaved mothers, under the new plan.

Maternal mental health hubs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As will bereaved mothers, under the new plan.

'Hubs' to support new, expectant and bereaved mothers with their mental health are to open in England.

There will be 26 sites in total, all with the aim of making sure mothers feel supported and safe in the knowledge that there are mental health resources available to help them adjust to pregnancy or new motherhood.

Announced today by the NHS England, the hubs promise to offer support to around 6,000 new parents in the first year alone.

Mental and physical health support

The sites won't just offer mental health support, but physical care, too. Nurses will be on hand to address both physical and mental health issues.

According to the NHS statement, they'll "integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, the maternity experience."

Mothers will be offered support for 1001 days after conception. Current help only offers services for the first year of a child's life.

Expect care is to be offered for a wide range of mental health issues, from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), low grade depression, post-partum depression, fear of childbirth and more.

In the next few months, the first ten sites are set to open in England in the following locations:

  • Birmingham & Solihull
  • Leicestershire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Shropshire Telford & Wrekin
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • Kent and Medway
  • Cornwall
  • Devon

Maternal mental health hubs

An adequate system of care

The other sixteen sites will open over the course of the year, with all hubs set to be open by April 2022. By 2024, the plan is for all 44 local NHS areas to have their own maternal mental health hub.

Emily Slater, CEO of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said to the BBC: "More than one in ten expectant and new mothers experiencing mental health problems. The numbers are increasing as a result of the pandemic. There needs to be a system of care available to support them."

"These new services will enable more women than ever to access vital perinatal mental health care."

This comes five years on from findings which revealed 40% of England had no standalone mental health facilities dedicated to helping new or expecting mothers, and the same month UK lawyers are calling for the law on paid miscarriage leave in the UK to be changed. At current, those who miscarry aren't entitled to paid leave by law.

Evidence-based support

The NHS's Long Term Plan, published two years ago, set out to offer 'evidence-based' support to families at 'outreach clinics'.

And now, they've made this commitment public, by promising to provide specialist care to those mothers most in need.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England's national mental health director, said: "Every woman has a unique experience with pregnancy and motherhood and some will need extra support to cope with mental health issues that can range from anxiety to severe depression."

"I would encourage any mum who needs this support to come forward safe in the knowledge that her mental health and wellbeing are of paramount importance. You should not feel ashamed of accessing the help you need."

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.