Liberal Democrats propose radical plan for maternal mental health

Scottish Liberal Democrats are proposing a radical plan for maternal mental health and have today launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to introduce the new five-point offer for mothers.

Post-natal depression and depression during pregnancy affect up to one in five women. One in two women who experience it will go undetected and untreated.

During an FMQs session in April, Willie Rennie highlighted the lack of perinatal mental health services and drew attention to the fact that new mothers in half of Scotland cannot access specialist services. Only Glasgow meets the required standard in the whole of Scotland.

Liberal Democrat perinatal proposals include:

  • The six week post-natal check to include support from a GP and Health Visitor with specific training on maternal mental health;
  • Referrals to suitable community support networks, supported by a health visitor;
  • Inpatient care to allow mothers to continue caring for their babies and be close to home;
  • A new campaign to remove the stigma of mental ill health for new mothers;
  • A new plan to increase core training for GPs and health visitors in identifying and treating maternal mental health.

Over the course of Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May), Scottish Liberal Democrats will expose the neglect of mental health by the SNP Government and make the positive case for a stepchange in the way that we treat it.

Tomorrow there will be a debate on perinatal mental health in the Scottish Parliament. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“The Scottish Government has a dreadful record when it comes to mental health, but perinatal services have proved a particular let down.

“Protecting mothers and giving new born babies the best possible start in life has to be made more of a priority. It is essential that people can access specialist support close to home and feel able to rely on welcoming community support networks if things get tough. We also need to make sure there are provisions and services for people who suffer late term miscarriages and can still be vulnerable to mental ill health.

“The Scottish Liberal Democrats are proud to be the first party in Scotland to set out a comprehensive, dedicated strategy for improving the detection and treatment of maternal mental health.

“Evidence shows the devastating effect poor maternal mental health can have on both mothers and their children, and in the longer term, on children's behaviour and ability to learn.

“While there is test after test to try and protect the physical health of women and ensure problems are detected, checks and support for their mental health are comparatively lacking. Change is long overdue. We’ve given the government the blueprint and all they need to do is say yes.”

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