Pioneering maternal mental health service launched

A family of two parents and two young children sat on their sofa with a nurse sat next to them with a coffee mug.
A family of two parents and two young children sat on their sofa with a nurse sat next to them with a coffee mug.

We officially launched our new maternal mental health service in November 2022 to strengthen the care and support we offer people who have experienced loss, distress or trauma before, during, or after giving birth.

Our Cheshire and Merseyside mental health transformation and maternity programmes have worked with a wide range of partners and people with lived experience to co-design this psychology-led service.

Midwives and mental health professionals work closely together to offer a combination of virtual and face-to-face support for women and birthing people close to their home.

How does this improve services for patients?

Our new service has improved access to mental health care and support for hundreds of people who have experienced loss, distress or trauma during pregnancy and birth.

In its first year the service has contributed to perinatal mental health access of nearly 2,500 people receiving the specialist help and care they needed. 

Made up of therapists, psychologists, assistant psychologists, specialist midwives and peer support workers, our service takes a multi-agency holistic approach to supporting women and birthing people.

Our service is called Silver Birch Hubs and was named by our patient ‘experts by experience’. They also helped design the new service and their ongoing involvement will contribute to future developments.

Already, there has been national attention for the services engagement work and excellent service user feedback.

“The service has been life changing for me. The positive impact it has had on my life and outlook on life is something I never thought was possible. The care and support received by X and the team was second to none and I can’t thank them enough.”

“Thank you so much to the team… who supported me throughout my journey with the service. From our first encounter I knew I was in the right hands. I was able to talk about my traumas in a very safe place with no judgement and validation of how I feel.”

“I felt the support I had was like wrap around care, that consistently helped me process my anxiety and fears through each stage of pregnancy in a safe place I felt listened to and seen…”

The service is also helping to establish better connections and working relationships across all sectors involved in perinatal care including voluntary, community and faith (VCF) organisations. This approach is also helping to raise awareness of perinatal services with the aim of ensuring more people across all our communities get access to the services they need.

What's next?

Our maternal mental health service has widened the help it offers to dads and partners through a pilot with the organisation Dad Matters. The pilot is supporting those who have been impacted by loss, distress or trauma before, during, or after their partner giving birth.

new specialist mother and baby unit is set to open to support new and expectant mothers and their families across Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales in 2024. This unit will work alongside community perinatal mental health services to further strengthen support and improve our service users experience of healthcare.

To ensure our maternal mental health service continues to achieve the best outcomes for our patients, it is being independently evaluated by the University of Manchester.

Learnings from the study will help us to ensure ongoing development of the service in meeting the needs of our patients.

Find out more

You can read about the maternal mental health service on the Mersey Care website.