An expanding specialist mental-health service to help women during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood is now available in the region.
The perinatal community mental-health team, which is part of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and disability services, is a community service which provides secondary care for women who are experiencing mental-health problems within the perinatal period.
The service is now working into Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead, and will be moving into South Tyneside and Sunderland in the autumn.
Claire Murdoch, national mental-health director for NHS England, officially opened the new service on Friday.
She said: “It has been a privilege and pleasure to open this amazing service, which is an exemplar of what we want to achieve nationally.
“Our national plan is to see services like this one open everywhere in the country.
“Hearing some of the lived experience stories has really touched me deeply.”
She added: “Women and families from this area will be able to access treatment and support from this specialist service knowing that they are in expert hands.”
The service, which has a whole family approach, offers care and support for women with a range of moderate to severe common mental-health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis.
Referrals can be made via a midwife, obstetrician, health visitor, GP or by the specialist mental-health service.
During pregnancy, birth and early motherhood, 20 per cent of women will have a mental-health problem and five per cent will require a specialist service.