We have four teams of perinatal mental health professionals from a range of different disciplines. These include psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists, parent-infant psychotherapists and nursery nurses.
They are all highly trained and specialise in perinatal adult and infant mental health.
We offer mums, their babies and families a safe and specialist meeting with one of our team to help them think about what they are going through and how being pregnant, or becoming a parent, has affected their wellbeing and that of their partner or wider family.
We provide our specialist service within:
accessible community venues
some maternity hospitals, GP surgeries and children’s centres
Partners are welcome at all our clinic appointments.
Individuals cannot currently refer themselves to the service, but a referral can be made by any health professional. This includes midwives, health visitors, GPs, hospital-based teams, children’s centre and social workers, child and adolescent mental health services, adult mental health workers, assessment and treatment teams, crisis teams and all primary and secondary approved mental health professionals. If you are concerned about your own mental health, or that of a friend or family member, please talk to one of these professionals about making a referral.
GPs should refer through their patient booking system as they would for any other mental health referral.
We are a community-based service. As well as providing our specialist service in family homes, we hold clinics in a range of locations including community venues, maternity hospitals, GP surgeries and family centres. We will talk to you about where you would like your appointments to take place and agree a venue together.
During 9am-5pm, if there is immediate risk to a mother or her baby, please call your GP or go to A&E.
If you know, or are looking after a woman and her baby who you believe is in crisis and requires an urgent response out of hours, please call the Sussex Mental Healthline - 0300 5000 101 - for telephone support and information.
The Sussex Mental Healthline offers crisis care for people in urgent need of help with their mental health. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In East Surrey, the Mental Health Crisis Helpline is available Monday to Friday 5pm-9am, and 24 hours at weekends and Bank Holidays on 0300 456 8342. SMS texting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is available on 07717 989 024.
We know that COVID-19 and the restrictions and isolation imposed by the lockdown can feel particularly difficult for women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby. Particularly for those who had were struggling with their mental health anyway.
The Sussex and East Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service remains fully staffed and operating as usual through this difficult period.
Do not assume that health professionals are 'too busy'. We are here and ready to help.
We have changed some of the ways in which we work. We are using a secure face to face digital platform called Attend Anywhere, which is similar to Zoom or Skype to see women for appointments. We are making more use of phone calls to check in with people. But we are still visiting women at home or offering 'in person' appointments where necessary. We continue to work closely with our maternity colleagues and are seeing women together with obstetricians and midwives in antenatal clinics and in hospital.
If you are struggling with your mental health during pregnancy, or in the first postnatal year, please talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor about what support they can offer and if a referral to our specialist perinatal mental health service might be helpful.
A message from the Sussex and East Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service during COVID-19
There are a number of useful online resources that have been developed to help people who are feeling anxious or struggling with their mental health at this time. There are some that have been developed specially for women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby.
This website offers useful guidance for women struggling with mental health issues and worries about their maternity care at this difficult time. It also provides some helpful resources and links for professionals working with women at this time. Maternal Mental Health Alliance
Eight short, funny videos with highly practical parenting tips for lockdown. Narrated by stars like Olivia Colman, Holly Willoughby and Danny Dyer. King's College London.
This helpful video talks you through some practical steps to help you to face and manage anxiety about COVID-19.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospital's Maternity Service have developed a useful section of their website to answer your questions about having a baby at this difficult time. Having a baby during COVID-19
Professionals who have any questions about our service, or who are not sure whether to refer a woman and her baby, or an expectant mother, can call one of our administrators, who will put them in touch with a specialist practitioner for an initial consultation:
Coastal West Sussex: 0300 304 0214
Northwest Sussex and East Surrey: 0300 304 0213
Brighton and Hove: 0300 304 0097
East Sussex: 0300 304 0212
SMS texting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is available on:
You may find this short film useful. It explains more about conditions such as anxiety and depression which can develop anytime from conception through the first year of a baby's life (created by NHS London Clinical Networks).
“Mummy is poorly” by Zoe Robinson. A children’s story about a little girl whose mother has mental health difficulties. It is intended to help parents start up conversations with children and also to remind professionals of the need to engage with patients’ children, Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Trust - https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/content/uploads/2018/01/Mummy-is-poorly-Oct-2019.pdf