Improving Perinatal Mental Health Health Integration Team (IMPROVE HIT) Directors Dr Jonathan Evans and Ruth Jackson reflect on the team’s achievements in the last year.
In the past 12 months, we have focused on completing the evaluation of the current Specialist Perinatal Mental Health services available in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) and setting up the evaluation of the service in Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire areas.
We started work on developing two training workshops on mental health and loss. The first of the workshops will address the ongoing mental health needs of mothers experiencing the loss of a child due to bereavement. The second workshop will look at focusing on the ongoing mental health needs of mothers experiencing the loss of a child through court procedures. Development of these workshops will bring together the expertise of maternity, perinatal mental health services and the voluntary and community sector. We will also be involving and collaborating with parents with lived experience, including several parents who have already been involved in the initial scoping meeting hosted by Bluebell Place.
We have presented research findings into the risks and benefits of antidepressant use in pregnancy and will be producing guidance on their use during pregnancy.
A feasibility trial of a brief psychological intervention for depression has been completed and we are discussing the funding of a full-scale trial with Health Technology Assessment (HTA).
The work on mother-infant interactions through headcams has carried on and ways of continuing data collection during the COVID-19 restrictions are being explored along with work on fathers including father-infant interactions.
Finally, we have been awarded a small grant from the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute to provide online mental health well-being self-help materials for women during pregnancy and postnatally during the pandemic. This will include mental health measures before and after using the materials.