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New and expectant mums experiencing mental health difficulties urged to reach out for support during the COVID-19 crisis

New and expectant mums who are struggling with their mental health are being reminded that support is still available during the COVID-19 crisis.

To mark Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (4th – 10th May), staff from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Perinatal Mental Health service are urging women across the region to not delay contacting their midwife, health visitor or GP if they are experiencing mental health difficulties.

GP surgeries across North Wales continue to be open, with telephone, video and face to face consultations available.

The North Wales Perinatal Mental Health Service works closely with GPs, midwives and health visitors to support women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and the postnatal year.

Research shows that following childbirth women are significantly more at risk of developing mental illness. Up to 20% of women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, while seven in ten women will underplay or hide the severity of their perinatal mental illness.

These illnesses can include antenatal depression; postnatal depression; anxiety; obsessive compulsive disorder; postpartum psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kelly Arnold, Interim Perinatal Mental Health Team Lead at BCUHB, said: “Our message to new and expectant mums is that it’s OK not to be OK; it’s OK to say that you’re not OK; and it’s OK to ask for and accept support.

“We want new and expectant mums to know that it’s quite common to struggle with mental health problems and sharing how they’re feeling with their health visitor, GP or any health professional involved in their care can be the first step to getting the help they need.

“It is likely that new and expectant mums may be feeling more worried and anxious than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to remember than despite the COVID-19 crisis, advice and support is still available. We want women to know that they’re not alone, and if they’re worried about their mental health or have been feeling intensely or unusually sad, down, worried or anxious, especially if it has gone on for two weeks or more, they should talk to their midwife, health visitor or GP.

“These health professionals can refer you to local support services and you may also benefit from additional support from your Community Mental Health Team or Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team.

The Health Board is also reminding people that confidential advice and emotional support is available 24/7 from the CALL Mental Health Helpline for Wales.

Call Freephone: 0800 132 737   
Or text HELP to: 81066

It’s OK to ask for and accept support if you don’t feel OK.