Emotional wellbeing

At least 20% of women will need some extra support with their emotional health from the time they get pregnant until after their baby is one year old.

This is called the perinatal period and difficulties during this time are often called perinatal mental health issues.

These can most commonly be feelings of depression, anxiety (or a mix of both), plus other symptoms and conditions.  These may be feelings that you have experienced before or the first time you have felt like this.  These can affect Dads and partners as well.

Specialist Health Visitor for Perinatal Mental Health (PMH)

A small number of families will see the Specialist Health Visitor for Perinatal Mental Health where the mother or father has mental health needs that would benefit from more intensive support but are not having care from the Perinatal Mental Health Service. This support may start from before birth or after birth. The purpose of this extra support is to help families recover or stay well.

To contact the Specialist Health Visitor please call 0300 300 1999


If you are experiencing depression, you may feel a constant feeling of sadness and low mood, loss of interest in the world around you and you may no longer enjoy the things that used to give you pleasure. You may also experience feelings of agitation, guilt, self-blame, and difficulties in relating to your baby. Your appetite, and sleep may be impacted. You may feel very irritable and angry.


If you are experiencing anxiety (with or without depression), you may have excessive fear or worry, feel nervous or on edge, your sleep may be disturbed, and you may want to avoid certain situations. Sometimes those feelings centre round the baby, but sometimes they are more general. Sometimes you may have physical symptoms, like feeling sick, sweating, a racing heart, and feelings of panic.

Other symptoms

You may worry if you have normal, but unexpected, fear of dirt or germs, a thought of harming your baby or needing everything to be perfect. Many new parents have these thoughts. However, if these thoughts start to interfere with daily life and bother you, please seek help.

Seeking help

At the visits before and after your baby is born your Health visitor or Staff Nurse will ask you about how you are feeling and how you are finding becoming a parent.

At any contact with the Health Visiting Team like a clinic or development review you can ask for help. Please let them know if you are not feeling quite right, so they can help you get the right support. 

This might include having some extra home visits, local NHS Talking therapies, encouraging you to go to your GP, linking you to local support such as groups or family support at the local Family Hubs. Sometimes if you need some extra help, they will refer you onto the Specialist Health Visitor for Perinatal Mental Health support (PMH) or the Perinatal Health Team.


If you feel very unwell and are having any thoughts that frighten you, about harming yourself or anyone else: 24/7 help is available by ringing NHS 111 option 2.

This help is available out of hours, over weekends and during holidays.

Support services

Inclusion Thurrock (NHS talking therapies)

Inclusion Thurrock is a free NHS psychological therapy service for adults living across Thurrock who are experiencing common mental health difficulties including depression and anxiety disorders such as OCD, PTSD and social phobia.

Inclusion Thurrock IAPT is provided by Inclusion, which is part of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. At Inclusion we believe that the individuals and families who use our services should receive a high quality, committed and inclusive service.

Inclusion Thurrock (IAPT & Recovery College)

Essex Perinatal Mental Health Service

The Perinatal Mental Health service team for Thurrock is the South West Team of the Essex wide service. This is a secondary mental health team specialising in assessing and treating women with moderate to severe mental health needs. 

You may be referred to this team by your midwife, Health Visitor or GP, PCN at the GP surgery before or after your baby is born.

Many women just see the team for an assessment and continue their support with other professionals and organisations recommended by the team. Some women continue to be cared for the team that includes nurses, OTs, Doctors, psychologists and pharmacists.

Perinatal Mental Health Service

Family Hubs 

Family Hubs have lots of activities that may help you from parenting groups, to weighing clinics, to play sessions. Staff at the Hub can also provide support and also help you to find out and access what support would work for you.

The Family Hubs also host some of the activities run by the local charity Parents First.

Family hubs

Parents First

Parents Frist provide peer support for families in Essex.  They run a wide variety of support from one to one peer support available from pregnancy, antenatal information groups (including specific sessions for partners and dads), drop in support coffee mornings at the Family Hubs, and walks and exercise groups.

Parents First Essex

Specialised help

There are some situations that may need some more specialised help:

Birth Trauma

If you have had a difficult birth, you may be referred to the Birth debriefing service at the Hospital you gave birth at. At Basildon this service is called Birth Afterthoughts. You may also benefit from some specific trauma- based work with the NHS Talking Therapies.

Loss of a baby

If you have lost a baby in the past year or if you are pregnant again after a baby loss and either of these situations are impacting your mental health, the maternal mental health service 'By Your Side' may be appropriate to offer extra support.

By Your Side

Relationship with your baby

If you are finding it tricky to connect with your baby in pregnancy or after they are born, the parent-infant service 'Together with Baby' offers extra support.

 Together with Baby

External links