Perinatal Mental Health

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) renewed the NHS’s commitment to transformation in specialist perinatal mental health services, to ensure that all women who can benefit, are able to access care. This included a commitment to develop and implement maternal mental health services (referred to in the Long Term Plan as maternity outreach clinics) in every area of the country by 2023/24.

Maternal mental health services ambition is to combine maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing moderate to severe or complex mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, their maternity experience.

In 2020 Norfolk and Waveney won a bid to be fast followers to develop a Maternal Mental Health Service (MMHS) which addressed moderate to severe perinatal mental health needs.

Norfolk and Waveney launched The Lotus Maternal Therapeutic Outreach Team in June 2021 and works closely with other services to offer support to women and birthing people who have experienced trauma in pregnancy, birth and immediately afterwards. 

The service offers support to women and birthing people who have experienced

  • Birth Trauma (A traumatic event related to pregnancy, birth or immediately afterwards)
  • Fear of Childbirth (Tokophobia)
  • Loss of pregnancy (this could include miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy) and stillbirth or the death of a baby within the first 12 months.
  • A child no long living with them due to children’s services involvement.

The Lotus service and our interventions have been developed in partnership with experts by experience and draw upon research, evidence and national guidance.

The Lotus Team is proud to include professionals from a range of backgrounds – including Clinical Psychologists, Peer Support Workers, Psychotherapists and Specialist Midwives – to provide person-centred care according to the individual’s needs. Our team will offer a variety of different interventions depending on individual needs. This might include individual therapy with one of our therapists using evidenced based approaches such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT)
  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

The lotus service offer a Trauma Informed Care approach, which means:

  • Staff being trustworthy and clear
  • Peer support
  • Working together and supporting women to make individual choices
  • Being sensitive to cultural and gender issues that may impact on anyone’s experience of care

What is the evidence/ key documents used within the workstream?