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Mental health support for new fathers

14 December 2018

Partners of expectant and new mothers who are unwell with mental health issues will be offered support and mental health checks, NHS England has announced.

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The expansion of perinatal mental health services, alongside wider health services, will be set out in the forthcoming NHS long-term plan, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said.

It will mean that expectant and new fathers with partners who are living with issues like anxiety, depression or psychosis, are not left to suffer in silence. They will also be offered a range of help, such as peer-support, behavioural couples therapy sessions and other family and parenting interventions in specialist community perinatal mental health settings, or referred to a leading psychological talking therapy programme.

Simon said: ‘At what should be one of the happiest moments of our lives, caring for a partner suffering mental ill health when a new baby arrives is a difficult and often lonely experience. 

‘Alongside the backup and friendship of other new parents in NCT and other groups, the NHS has a role to play in helping support the whole family. These days dads and partners are rightly expected to be more hands on and NHS mental health services also need to step up and support families at times of extreme stress and anxiety.’

NHS England will also be increasing support with specialist community perinatal mental health teams made up of nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nursery nurses, peer support workers and administrative staff. 

The teams are set to cover the country by April 2019 and will work to provide a comprehensive service to new mums.

The health service also plans to expand its mother and baby unit bed capacity by 49% for severely mentally unwell mothers.
 

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