Maternal mental health difficulties cause untold distress and suffering to women and their families, and cost the UK £8.1 billion each year. This report, commissioned by the NCT as part of their Hidden Half campaign, explores the implications of extending the current six-week health check for babies to include a consultation about the wellbeing of the mother.
Centre for Mental Health found that resourcing GPs to offer a ten-minute appointment about the mother’s health would cost around £27 million a year, but this could help to identify more women who are experiencing mental health difficulties after the birth of their child, and ensure that they receive timely, effective support.
The report concludes that an additional health check with GPs would provide an important opportunity to help women whose difficulties were missed during pregnancy. To make the most of their opportunity, GPs would also need training and advice on how to enquire about a new mother’s mental health.