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The importance of perinatal maternal mental health has been highlighted by a new report into services by leading social care charity, Quarriers.
Perinatal mental health illness in Scotland affects up to 20% of women – around 11,000 every year and if left untreated can have long-lasting effects on women and their families. Pregnancy and childbirth can pose problems for women with a history of poor mental health, but they can also trigger a number of significant conditions, including depression and anxiety, in women who have not previously experienced issues and without prompt attention these conditions can be long-lasting and devastating.
The Ruchazie Maternal Mental Wellbeing service provided by Quarriers has helped over 371 people since it was established in 2017 with funding from Comic Relief and the Tampon Tax Fund.
The research, carried out by the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection at the University of Stirling, has highlighted the importance of the Quarriers’ service which fills a gap in service provision that community mental health teams are not able to offer.
The range of activities, including one-to-one and drop-in services, as well as post-natal and ante-natal groups, are available to mothers who are often referred through health visitors, midwives, social workers and self-referrals.
Ruth Newman, Deputy Manager, said:
“We are very proud of the work we carry out and the report underlines the big difference that it makes in the lives of women and their families.
“Maintaining relationships with women who use the service and building trust with them and their families is a crucial part of this work and the report notes the importance of recognising and supporting women’s personal journeys and tailored support to meet their differing needs.
“The structure of the support also allowed women to overcome issues of trust, confidence and self-stigma and build relationships with others.