Some good news: the Royal College of General Practitioners has launched a perinatal mental health toolkit – in layperson’s terms, resources that help doctors and nurses in primary care support women who experience mental health problems during pregnancy or after giving birth.
The resources are very comprehensive, and include links to NICE guidance, links to advice on medication for pregnant and breastfeeding women and links to relevant charities and support groups such as Sands (the stillbirth and neonatal death charity) and the Birth Trauma Association.
It’s particularly good to see the RCGP recognise that mental health problems don’t exist in a vacuum. The resources include links to information about sexual violence and domestic abuse and to information about supporting refugee women.
The GP is often the first port-of-call for new mothers suffering from mental health problems such as depression and PTSD, so it’s essential that GPs have access to information about these conditions. While new mothers are now routinely screened for postnatal depression, PTSD often goes under the radar. This toolkit is, I hope, an important step towards making sure that mothers suffering from PTSD receive the treatment they need.