Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. And today, in advance of IWD 2019 our Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse will introduce a Bill to improve mental health care for new mothers.
I welcome this legislation. As a mother of three, I am well aware of what is currently offered to new mothers. It is not enough. This campaign will tackle one aspect which could be improved: introducing the requirement that the current routine NHS post-natal check-ups given six weeks after having your baby must include mental health checks and support.
It is called the Postnatal Check-ups (Mental Health) Bill, and the first reading is in Parliament today.
It is extremely worrying that nearly half of new mothers who have experienced mental health or emotional issues have not had their problem identified by a health professional or received any help or treatment.
Postnatal mental health issues are not a new phenomenon and are not uncommon. It’s time to remove the stigma, encourage new mothers to discuss their emotional well-being, and provide them with the mental health support they need.
The full text of the proposed bill is
A Bill to require routine six week National Health Service check-ups for new mothers to include mental health assessments and advice; and for connected purposes.
Identifying mental health concerns early is the best way to prevent further, more serious, mental ill health. Parenthood is not easy, and the early days with a new baby can be tiring and stressful. Putting additional checks and supports in place can help identify issues before they become embedded and more serious.
Well done Wera and the team for launching this bill. We will watch its progress through Parliament, hoping you have the same success with this one that you did with the Upskirting Bill.
* Kirsten Johnson is the PPC for North Devon and Day Editor of Lib Dem Voice.