Funding boost for new mums mental health support

£1m to improve access to counselling and befriending services for parents

Monday 2nd September 2019

New mums at risk of experiencing mental health issues will be offered better access to counselling and befriending services.

The Scottish Government has allocated £1m to help improve services for new and expectant mothers, including psychological assessment and treatment.

It will include helping the voluntary sector provide counselling, befriending and peer support for women and their families.

The funding will also be used to increase staffing and training at mother and baby units for women with the most serious illnesses and help ensure children get the best start in life.

Around a fifth of expectant or new mums will experience mental health issues such as postnatal depression and postpartum psychosis, adding up to around 11,000 every year in Scotland.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said listening to the views of women who have experienced mental health issues related to pregnancy and childbirth had influenced where the money is being invested.

She said: “Our vision is of a Scotland where women, young children and families do not face fear or stigma when experiencing mental health issues.”

SallyAnn Kelly, chief executive of charity Aberlour, said it aimed to roll out a befriending service for new parents across Scotland.

She added: “To give children the best start in life, it is vital we support parents effectively.”

The funding is part of a £50m investment in mental health services over the next four years for new mums, babies and young children, announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this year.