New service at hospital in Morpeth

A partnership between Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and national charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) is creating an important peer support service for women experiencing severe mental illness following the birth of their child.
Dr Jess Heron.Dr Jess Heron.
Dr Jess Heron.

The Beadnell Mother and Baby Unit at St George’s Park Hospital in Morpeth which is run by CNTW, has contracted APP to deliver this support.

Postpartum psychosis is a debilitating postnatal mental illness that can occur out of the blue.

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The Mother and Baby Unit exists to support women experiencing severe mental illness in pregnancy and following birth – with specialist help available to treat such conditions, which also include severe postnatal depression.

St George’s Park Hospital in Morpeth.St George’s Park Hospital in Morpeth.
St George’s Park Hospital in Morpeth.

Dr Jess Heron, CEO of APP, said: “We know that CNTW are already big believers in the value of peer support and lived experience engagement.

“The service provided to new mothers and families at the Mother and Baby Unit is outstanding and, by combining this with the new peer support service for postpartum psychosis, women will receive a truly holistic and specialist treatment.

“Being able to support women and families at this critical stage, as they go through this frightening experience and begin to recover, is key to reducing the trauma, giving hope and helping women and families feel less alone as they navigate the recovery process.”

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New mums with postpartum psychosis may develop high or low mood, or fluctuate between them, alongside delusions, hallucinations or severe confusion.

However, it is eminently treatable and most women go on to make a full recovery with the right support.

The unit also provides specialist mother and baby classes, activities such as parent and child swimming and baby massage classes, and overnight facilities for partners – with the core aim of keeping families together to support a faster recovery and better quality of life.

Allison Spiers, ward manager at the Beadnell Mother and Baby Unit, said: “We work very closely with APP to support mothers who are experiencing postpartum psychosis and we are really pleased to be growing that relationship by welcoming a new Peer Supporter employed by APP into our team.”