"Post Natal Depression and the lack of specialist services"

About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital / Maternity care Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I suffered severe post natal depression twice in 2007 and 2009. When I had my first son no specialist services existed in Sheffield, the Perinatal Mental Health team had been disbanded. I had the crisis team who don’t seem to have no specialist training in PND. I started with severe PND 6 months into my second pregnancy and was this time lucky enough to receive specialist help for the Perinatal Mental Team at the Michael Carlisle Centre, Nether Edge, Sheffield. I attach my case study which I have put on the www.sheffieldlight.co.uk website. My motivation in putting my story into words is to help other women who suffered what I did.

Unfortunately this team consists only of a psychiatrist, a clinical co-ordinator and an administrator, there literally aren’t enough bodies to go around. Women have to be extremely ill in order to be seen by the team as they only have the resources to see the severest of cases.

During one of my sessions with I raised the fact that there isn’t enough help for women with PND in the City and no specific mother and baby groups for sufferers either. I know I would have jumped at the chance to attend a mother and baby group where I didn’t feel like a criminal for not liking my son, where I didn’t feel like I stood out and that they knew I was a bad mum.

Last year I received a letter asking me if I would like to raise awareness of PND and support others. I jumped at the opportunity. I believe that ideally South Yorkshire needs a 6 bed unit of its own. The nearest units are Leeds and Nottingham which are a logistical nightmare. Another woman also involved in founding the Light can testify to this as she spent five weeks in Nottingham Mother and Baby Unit with another toddler at home in Sheffield.

There is nowhere in the area where a mother suffering PND and subsequent bonding issues can go with her baby as an inpatient to be supported and nurtured back to health. We estimate that around 500 mothers in Sheffield alone would have suffered without help, take into consideration their partners, parents, other siblings and friends who take the knock on effect and it rises to over thousand at least. Personally my whole family and in-laws were affected as both my mother and mother in law looked after me and my babies for the first year. This of course impacted on their husbands and my husband who had lost a wife gained a child and two mothers all at once.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Mia Bajin, PPI and PALS Manager, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Louise,

Since this opinion was posted, The Peri Natal Unit in Sheffield have been working very closely with Light and have supported them.

They have set up a weekly group for women with severe mental health problems.

This service is working closely with Light and others in the city working with parents with mental health problems to form a citywide network ,to address the stigma associated with mental health and close gaps in services.

The Service continues to work with service users and commissioners on improving the service and welcome any feedback from women and their families.

If you would like any further information please telephone The PALS Service on 0114 271 8768, or email PALS@shsc.nhs.uk

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