SDLP health spokesman Mark H. Durkan has claimed not enough is being done to protect mothers and their babies due to what he branded an ‘appalling’ lack of postnatal services in the North.
Mr. Durkan was speaking after an NSPCC research study, ‘Time for Action on Perinatal Mental Health Care in NI’, conducted in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, highlighted “considerable challenges impacting on the primary care being provided to women and families”.
Mr Durkan said he hoped the report would help tackle an “appalling” lack of postnatal services in the North.
“I was delighted to launch the new NSPCC report on perinatal mental health, highlighting the appalling lack of mental health services and support for women during and after pregnancy.
“Hearing the brave and powerful testimonials from mothers about living with post-natal depression, it is clear that urgent action is needed to help families during one of the most formative times in their lives.
“A baby’s good health relies on the good health of its mother, this is why the issue of perinatal mental health is such a vital one. A staggering 80 per cent of new mums do not have access to specialist perinatal mental health services here, the SDLP have backed this campaign and others to change this. With the help of families, health professionals and mothers; together we can break the stigma and silence surrounding perinatal mental health,” he said.
Dr. Alain Gregoire, Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance UK, said: “This report shines a powerful light on the urgent need for action on perinatal mental health in Northern Ireland.”