Pregnant women and new mums who are finding motherhood difficult are being reminded of the help available.

As Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week starts tomorrow, Monday, a mental health health trust wants to raise awareness of the support on offer to mums.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) provides perinatal mental health services to women in the area who have had or are experiencing mental health difficulties during pregnancy or in the first year after they have had their baby.

Fiona O’Connell, perinatal service manager for North Yorkshire and York, said: “People expect motherhood to be an exciting and wonderful time but we realise this isn’t always the case and it can be very difficult for women who feel unwell during this time.

"One in ten women will develop mental health problems during the perinatal period and it is important for people to know that support is available to them and their families and that people are aware of where they can turn to.”

TEWV perinatal mental health service sees women with severe and complex mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder and postnatal psychosis.

The Trust recently opened perinatal mental health services in North Yorkshire and York to provide support to more women across the Trust area.

Fiona added: “We offer preconception advice to women who have had severe mental illness in the past, because we know that they can be at an increased risk of their symptoms returning during and after pregnancy.”


Sarah accessed the service before becoming pregnant with her second child, having experienced postnatal psychosis after the birth of her son.

York Press:

Sarah, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I knew there was an increased risk of me becoming ill again so I was referred to the service for pre-conception counselling, which helped my husband and I with our decision to have a second child.”

She received further support from the perinatal mental health service once she became pregnant with her second child and the team saw her at regular intervals to monitor her mental wellbeing and put plans in place should she become unwell again.

Sarah added: “It was a little bit like having a midwife for your mental health, but the support wasn’t just for me, they also helped my husband, who was quite nervous about me getting ill again. He could attend all the appointments with me, which we both found really helpful.

“Thankfully this time I stayed well during my pregnancy but it was good to know the support was there had the situation been different.”

GPs, health visitors and midwives can all refer women to the TEWV perinatal mental health service.

Following a referral, if it is decided that the perinatal mental health service is suitable for them, they will be allocated a clinician who will work with them to agree a care plan to help meet their individual needs and find solutions to support them on their road to recovery.

For further details visit

York Press:


If you live in York or North Yorkshire and need help outside of the perinatal team’s normal working hours, you can contact the crisis team in your area on the numbers below:

Harrogate: 01423 553778

Northallerton: 01609 763702

Scarborough: 01723 384645

York: 01904 526582


Everything you say to the team, and the information about you will be kept confidential within the perinatal team. The only instance in which they would need to break your confidentially is if it was felt there was a risk to yourself or others, but they would speak to you about this.