Under consideration PE2017: Extend the period that specialist perinatal mental health support is made available beyond one year
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to:
amend section 24 of Mental Health (Care and Treatment), (Scotland Act) 2003 to extend maternal mental health support beyond one year,
introduce a family liaison function at adult mental health units across all health boards,
introduce specialised perinatal community teams that meet Perinatal Quality Network Standard Type 1 across all health boards, and
establish a Mother and Baby Unit in North East Scotland.
Previous action taken
I contacted one of my North East regional MSPs in December 2021 who raised the situation during First Minister's Questions. I contacted another North East regional MSP, Tess White MSP, in early 2022 about maternal health services and she has been supporting us on the issues raised in this petition in the intervening period.
A member of my family who lives in NE Scotland, developed postpartum psychosis and relapsed after receiving initial treatment at a Mother and Baby Unit. Her experience shows that difficulties with maternal mental health are not just confined to the first year of motherhood.
After being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, she and her baby were admitted to the Mother and Baby Unit in Livingston. They received exceptional care, while her family were kept up-to-date with her treatment and progress.
However, she experienced a relapse some months later and was sectioned in a mental health unit. Her experience was profoundly different to the MBU where she had made so much progress. She said to me that 'it was like living a nightmare; the whole experience just didn't seem real.'
To watch someone you love be so ill, to put her in the hands of a system with people you should be able to trust, and be let down so badly is one of the hardest experiences of my life. It has driven me to make change.