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Perinatal mental health

The Secretary of State for Health announced in November 2015 the Government’s ambition to reduce the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 20 per cent by 2020, and by 50 per cent by 2030.

Studies have shown that between 10 and 20 per cent of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby and is a leading causes of death for mothers during pregnancy and the year after birth. These conditions e.g. postnatal depression, often develop suddenly and range from mild to extremely severe.

We have been working in partnership with Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to develop a perinatal mental health care skills competency framework to support all professionals who work with mothers and families, from preconception until one year postnatal.

The framework has been developed by an expert writing team and Perinatal Mental Health Steering Group and aims to build perinatal mental health capability in the workforce by identifying required skills and helping care teams assess their training needs.

The Framework is currently available in PDF format and is now being developed into an interactive online version to help health and care professionals more easily access the information they need. 


Working with stakeholders we’ve designed five perinatal mental health eLearning modules. The modules have been designed specifically for healthcare professionals who have contact with a mother or baby from the period prior to conception until the child is one year of age.