Perinatal Mental Health Summit
On Monday 8 October, the 2018 Perinatal Mental Health Summit took place in central London. Lauren Newman reports on the proceedings and take home messages from the day
This year's Perinatal Mental Health Summit had two central themes: ‘improving perinatal mental healthcare’ and ‘implementing the 2018 national perinatal mental healthcare pathways’. As a result, the event drew delegates from around the UK and with a wide range of job titles, from student midwives to consultant psychiatrists.
Conference chair, Elaine Hanzak opened proceedings with an account of her own experience with perinatal mental illness, illustrating the continuing importance of research to recognise and treat women before it is too late. While thanking health professionals for their work to save women's lives, she challenged them to share best practice and identify gaps in services.
This challenge was then readily accepted by the speakers who followed. Dr Sonji Clarke, senior consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology and at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London, outlined the new national perinatal mental health care pathways and the implications for commissioners and care providers. It was clear that there has been progress: perinatal mental health has come to the fore in the past 5 years, and new pathways feature preconception interventions. However, in addition to ambitious targets to develop equality of access for women, there are still gaps to be filled—not least connecting NHS systems with others, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
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