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Digitally enabled perinatal mental health programmes: a Scottish perspective

02 May 2024
Volume 32 · Issue 5


This article provides an overview of the use of digitally enabled programmes to support perinatal mental healthcare in the NHS in Scotland, focusing on the Perinatal Wellbeing Programme from SilverCloud®. This follow up to a previous article published in the British Journal of Midwifery considers the experiences of using this programme in a Scottish context, examining feedback from users of the intervention.

Mental healthcare needs are markedly different in the perinatal period than at other times. The Mental Health (Scotland) Act (2015) gives a woman the right of access to appropriate mental healthcare regardless of her place of residence or severity of her condition. The Delivering Effective Services report (Scottish Government, 2019) made recommendations across all tiers of service delivery. There was an emphasis on the development of expertise by all professionals involved in maternal and infant mental healthcare and the importance of close working links between different services that women encounter.

The Delivering Effective Services report (Scottish Government, 2019) led to the establishment of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board in the same year, which followed on from the establishment of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Network Scotland (PMHNS) in 2017. The network has developed standards and pathways for referral and management of women experiencing perinatal mental illness, established competencies and training for health professionals, and aims to ensure all pregnant and postnatal women have equitable access to appropriate care. Since the inception of this managed clinical network, it has also overseen the expansion of specialist perinatal support including perinatal mental health multi-agency teams, infant mental health specialist midwives and maternity and neonatal psychological intervention services. The clinical psychologists providing these maternity and neonatal psychological intervention services are co-located with hospital based maternity services. They have a specific remit to provide interventions that address psychological need for parents with previous or current pregnancy and neonatal complications, or who have mental health problems that directly affect maternity care.

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