Money is being pumped into a service to help women who suffer mental disorders before and after child birth .

NHS England has awarded almost £3 million for a Perinatal Mental Health Community Service (PMHS) across the London boroughs of Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.

The money comes after a successful joint bid from Central and North West London Foundation Trust (CNWL) and the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

National figures show suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal deaths. At least one in ten women are affected by mental disorders in the perinatal period and 5 per cent will experience a major depressive episode.

There are four maternity units in the five boroughs with over 20,000 births each year. But across the area there is currently limited or no perinatal provision and often only covers six months after the birth.

The NHS will deliver a specialist community PMHS which will work in maternity services, community and primary care services .

It will allow mums to be covered for up to 12 months after birth, and focus on prevention, early detection and diagnosis with prompt treatment.

Stephanie Bridger, divisional director for CNWL Child and Adolescent services, said: “With this investment we will be able to offer earlier responses to women at a vulnerable time as well as offering advice and support to our partners in maternity care to identify those who might be at risk of ill health.

“It is a real opportunity to build more resilient and sustainable services over a period of time, as the money is over three years. And we’ll be taking on new staff too.”

'Help for women at their most vulnerable'

Dr Fiona Butler, chairman of West London CCG, said: “We’re delighted that this funding has been secured to help women and their families across north west London.

“The work that CNWL will be able to expand upon will really help to make a difference to women at one of the most vulnerable times for them and their families.”

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