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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

NHS support for parents feeling low in mood

Published: 06/09/2016

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is supporting this year’s Pre and Post-natal Depression Awareness Week, by highlighting the many ways that people in Birmingham can access FREE and confidential NHS support and advice that could help with pre and post-natal depression.

The Trust’s talking therapy service, Birmingham Healthy Minds, has developed a perinatal pathway in Birmingham to provide vital support and treatment to parents experiencing mental health difficulties, either before or after the birth of their child.
It is estimated that 1 in 10 women and 1 in 3 men are concerned about their mental health during parenthood and these symptoms often go unnoticed and untreated.
Birmingham Healthy Minds offer free and confidential NHS services to provide advice, support and treatment to help people learn coping strategies and provide them with essential skills to self-manage their symptoms. By using a range of interventions, such as anxiety and stress management courses, computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), as well as group interventions, mindfulness, and one-to-one talking therapies, people can improve their overall mental health and wellbeing.

In July, Jo Gill, Consultant Clinical Lead, and Ann Iyer, Team Manager and High Intensity Therapist, from Birmingham Healthy Minds presented their integrated perinatal service at a national Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) conference in Birmingham. The presentation focused on the development and delivery of an effective and safe pathway for perinatal women in need of mental health services in Birmingham. Jo, said: “Anyone can experience varying levels of mental health difficulties either before or after a child is born and these symptoms are not isolated to mothers, they can affect fathers, too.

“Symptoms can be hard to identify, and they may develop over a period of time, so parents may put symptoms of depression or anxiety down to tiredness or adapting to the changing environment that is associated to the arrival of a new baby.  

“It can also be very hard for new parents to ask for help, for many reasons. However, it really isn’t advisable to try and cope alone with any kind of depression and our team of dedicated NHS professionals are here to advise and guide you through the first steps towards getting the right support.

“Our services are free and confidential across Birmingham at a time and place that is convenient to meet the needs of very different lifestyles. They are accessible to anyone aged 16 or over, who is registered with a GP in Birmingham.”

Dr Amanda Gatherer, Clinical Director of Psychological Services at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Looking after yourself and your baby is extremely important for your health and relationships and no one should try and cope alone with any symptoms of pre or post-natal depression. 

“Depression can affect people in many different ways, from feeling sad and not being able to cope with everyday tasks, to having overwhelming thoughts of not being able to carry on at all.  

“I would encourage anyone who is feeling low in mood to talk to their GP, or to get in touch with Birmingham Healthy Minds directly, for advice and support as soon as possible.”

Getting in touch with Birmingham Healthy Minds couldn’t be easier. Referrals can be made by GPs in Birmingham, or you can self-refer directly to services by calling 0121 301 2525 (between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays), emailing* the team at BHM@bsmhft.nhs.uk, texting** ‘BHM’ to 60777 or by using the online referral form at www.birminghamhealthyminds.org where there are also many self-help advice booklets to download. 

Birmingham Healthy Minds also offer a walk-in service across Birmingham that can be accessed at varying times, without an appointment.  

Further details on Birmingham Healthy Minds’ services, including walk-in centre locations and opening times, can be found at www.birminghamhealthyminds.org

*Please be aware that should you choose to email us we cannot guarantee the security of the contents of your email while in transit to us. **By texting us on 60777, you are agreeing for Birmingham Healthy Minds to contact you (who are part of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust) to receive further information on our service. This will cost you the price of standard rate text message.