A new report has revealed the hefty cost that society is paying for the lack of mental health care offered to new mothers.
Despite the fact that depression, anxiety and psychoses such as bipolar disorder will affect one in five women during or shortly after childbirth, little is being done to support them during this time and the outcome is an £8bn cost to the likes of the NHS and Social Services.
The report, which was written by the London School of Economics and the Centre for Mental Health went on to argue that they have in fact even underestimated this staggering cost. Dr Alain Gergoire, Chair of the Maternal Health Alliance commented:
“Perinatal mental health problems are common and costly. The good news is that women recover when they get the right treatment. It is vital that all women, wherever they live, get the specialist help they need.”
Despite criticising the ‘patchy’ services that see half of all cases of depression going undetected and women failing to get the proper treatment they need, the report also highlighted the fact that providing a service that meets the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines would come at a cost of £337m a year.
Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter has reassured the public that the government is taking significant steps in order to improve mental health care during pregnancy and after childbirth. It has been announced that an additional 1,7000 midwives and 2,000 health visitors have been recruited - all of whom will receive mental health training so that they can provide the specialist care and support that is needed.
If you would like more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available for postnatal depression, please feel free to visit our Mental Health Knowledge Centre. If you are suffering from depression and would like treatment please contact us now.