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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Minister hails progress in community perinatal mental health services

The Health Minister is pictured at the launch with Katie Graham, Service User, Dr Margaret Kelly, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; Alison Doherty, Team Lead; Karen O’Brien, Director Adult Mental Health and Disability; Neil Guckian OBE, Chief Executive Western Trust

L-R: The Health Minister is pictured at the launch with Katie Graham, Service User, Dr Margaret Kelly, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist; Alison Doherty, Team Lead; Karen O’Brien, Director Adult Mental Health and Disability; Neil Guckian OBE, Chief Executive Western Trust


Health Minister Robin Swann today hailed the good progress achieved in implementing community perinatal mental health services across Northern Ireland.


All five Health Trusts now have community perinatal mental health teams in place.


The teams offer support and interventions to women through their pregnancy and up until one year after birth, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of women, their children and their wider families.



Minister Swann was speaking at the formal launch of the Western Health & Social Care Trust’s community perinatal mental health service, at which he thanked all the staff involved in its implementation.


He said:


“This is a service which provides the right support, at the right time, to women and families who are at their most vulnerable at an extraordinarily difficult time of their lives.”



The Minister continued:


“It has a vital role to play in promoting mental wellbeing and good mental health to expectant and new mothers and their families. The introduction of these community teams is a massively important step forward for perinatal mental health services in Northern Ireland.”


The Western Trust’s community perinatal mental health team is comprised of a range of staff, including consultant psychiatrists, obstetricians, mental health nurses, midwives, health visitors, social workers, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists.


Today’s event included an overview of the perinatal service, the sharing of lived experiences with reflections from service users, and a presentation from the Trust’s perinatal mental health team.



Western Trust Chief Executive Neil Guckian OBE said:


“I am delighted to welcome Health Minister Robin Swann here today to hear about the successful implementation of the community perinatal mental health service in the Western Trust. As a Trust we are committed to ensuring that all mothers receive a high quality service with timely access to appropriate mental health care, closer to home.


"Our perinatal team personalises care for each individual, designed to wrap around the whole family, providing support not only for the mother but also guidance and help to enhance her relationship with her baby. The service offers support to partners and family members, helping them to guide their loved one through their illness while caring for themselves.”



Each of the Trusts now has an operational team in place, accepting referrals and providing a consultancy service to women experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period.

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