Maternal mental health including perinatal

Current programmes and pathways

Tier 1

While there is no specialist mental health provision in Central Bedfordshire, a number of local programmes provide support for new families. These include:

  • Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) – specifically for fist time parents aged 19 and under, provides support through home visits throughout the antenatal, postnatal and early year’s period until the child is two years old (1).
  • The Healthy Child Programme (0-5) – responsibility for delivering this programme has transferred from Central Government to local authorities, and mental health checks have been included in the service specification.
  • Luton and Dunstable University Hospital – midwives will identify and discuss mental health illnesses within the first booking and use the Whooley questions to assess. The maternity department have recruited a mental health midwife.
  • East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) – was commissioned in 2015 to provide mental health services including maternal mental health. It is envisaged that a single point of access will operate to swiftly assess and direct pregnant women through to the right services.

Tier 0-2

Assisted self help with the use of self help books are provided.

Talking therapies as a standard therapy for mild to moderate anxiety or depression and using a single point of access can streamline into an IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) or into a Tier 3 programme.

Tier 3

A programme using cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is available with East London Foundation Trust for moderate to severe anxiety, depression or panic attacks. ELFT also offer brief Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT). Brief Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy is a psychological treatment that can help people with emotional and relationship problems. All programmes have a 3 month follow up and given a risk assessment and re-referred if necessary.

Children Centres

Early Help commissioners at Central Bedfordshire Council have commissioned ‘Great Expectations’ for a further year. This is led by a Surestart staff and it offers support group environments within the postnatal period. Current groups are in Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Leighton Buzzard, Sandy and Shefford.  To date, there is no evidence on the effectiveness of this local programme.


Last updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017