News and events

News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

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Spotlight on our perinatal mental health services

Maternal Mental Health Week 29 April - 5 May, green background, Mental Health green ribbon, image of flowers and head, NELFT logos.

This Maternal Mental Health Week (29 Apr – 5 May) NELFT is shining a light on the support available for those with mental health problems during pregnancy and after birth.

Perinatal mental health problems occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects 1 in 4 of new mums and covers a wide range of conditions.

If left untreated, mental health issues can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family. Specialist perinatal mental health services provide care and treatment for women with complex mental health needs and support the developing relationship between parent and baby. They also offer women with mental health needs advice for planning a pregnancy.

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance organises the week-long campaign dedicated to talking about mental health problems before, during, and after pregnancy. It aims to raise public awareness of perinatal mental health problems, change attitudes, and help people access the care and support they need to recover.

Dr Neha Rawat, Perinatal Psychiatrist at NELFT said about changing attitudes and access to care:

“I think parenting and motherhood are so haloed and mythologized but often the reality is that people can struggle in pregnancy, and having babies is not emotionally protective.

“Just as women are checked for physical health like blood pressure or gestational diabetes, they should be checked for their mental health needs during pregnancy. And much like the interventions available for physical health conditions, maternal mental health problems can also be addressed without medications, and if medications are needed, we can prescribe them safely.

“The most important thing is for parents and their children to be healthy.”

The perinatal parent infant mental health service at NELFT (PPIMHS) is a specialist psychiatric and psychological service, specialising in moderate to severe mental health problems. The team is made up of psychiatrists, community mental health practitioners and psychotherapists/psychologists. 

Andrea Wells, who works at the service a perinatal mental health practitioner, said:

“It is much more common than people think to experience low mood or difficulties bonding with your baby – it often doesn't happen immediately and can take some support.

“If you are struggling, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and there is support out there, from experts who won’t judge you. Our service is open to birthparents from all backgrounds, and their families, offering bespoke support that is tailored to their individual needs and their children’s.

“Women have a right to good mental health in their pregnancy and beyond, and we’re here to help them achieve that.”

People can self-refer to the service and referrals can also be made from any professional including social workers, GPs, and midwives. The service also runs an advice line on 0300 555 1119 between 12:30 and 16:15 on weekdays.


Find out more about the service, visit: Perinatal parent infant mental health service-bdhvrbwf | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust


Useful resources: 

Action on Postpartum Psychosis | The national charity for mums and families affected by postpartum psychosis (

Welcome to Maternal OCD


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