The Surrey Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service launches across Surrey Heartlands on 1st October.

It will provide a local, supportive, responsive, innovative and considerate service to women from pre-conception up until one year post-natal.

Perinatal mental health has been identified as a national priority with 30,000 additional women to receive access to specialist support by 2020/21. NHS England has made £23 million available to fund this support, and within Surrey Heartlands the Surrey and Borders Partnership has successfully bid for one year’s funding.

The service will operate from two bases: the South West Surrey team will be based at Leatherhead and the North West Surrey team from Chertsey.

The team includes psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, nursery nurses, administrators and peer support workers.

Referrals will be from healthcare and allied professionals, including GPs, midwives and social care workers. Appointments will be available in antenatal clinics, children’s centres and GP’s surgeries and there’ll also be capacity within the team for home visits, particularly for women with babies up to eight weeks’ old.

“We’re delighted to have secured this funding to launch the service within Surrey,” said Dr Abigail Crutchlow, Perinatal Clinical Lead for Surrey and Borders Partnership. “We’ll be offering access to a range of treatments including specialist medication advice, psychological therapies and parenting support.  Part of the remit is to reach women early, at the pre-conception stage, where needed. The emphasis is on maternal health rather than mental health.  It’s a project we can see progressing over the next few years. It’s a really exciting time.”