NHFT Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team holds First GP event

February 09, 2021

The number of women experiencing perinatal mental illness is increasing, with research showing up to 20% of women developing a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth*. We also know that suicide is a main cause of death in mothers giving birth in the UK.

Perinatal mental health covers a wide range of conditions and if left untreated mental health issues can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family.

However, perinatal mental illness is potentially preventable, partially predictable and definitely treatable. That’s why our Specialist Perinatal Mental Health team at NHFT brought together trainee GP’s from across Northamptonshire and supportive organisations to come together at a conference to raise awareness and educate GP trainee’s about Perinatal Mental Health and the issues surrounding it.

GP’s play a key role in detecting and treating personal mental illness as they are often the first point of call for many people and can support with early intervention, so working with trainee GP’s is a perfect time for them to learn about the issue.

The conference was held on Wednesday 5 February 2020 at the Park Inn, Northampton and was attended by over 110 people with over 80 of these attendees being trainee GP’s from both the Northampton and Kettering training scheme.

The day included a jam packed agenda with a number of keynote speakers from within the perinatal mental health profession, as well as supporting charities which we have highlighted below.

Throughout the day there was a real buzz in the room with some great discussions taking place from all those involved. Real-life cases were also discussed that had been adapted to a GP perspective! This interactive session gave the trainees an opportunity to get involved and it was great to see them all participating.


Dr Elizabeth Davison, GP Perintal Mental Health Champion under the Spotlight project

This session was all about the importance of understanding perinatal mental health for GP’s and the risks associated with these issues. Dr Davison discussed opportunities to improve care, principles of treatment and helpful resources in practise.

As part of her talk Dr Davison also introduced the ‘ABCDE approach’:

• Anticipate and assess risk: check notes, flag women at risk, preconception care, mental health reviews, contraception and medication reviews
• Be aware of your own prejudice: look behind the smile and be aware of stigma, encourage discussion without judgement
• Contact and compassion: Ask, acknowledge and listen – don’t just hear
• Open the door to disclosure and follow up more regularly
• Promote self-care and wellbeing
• Don’t stop medication! get advice and information
• Effective, evidence-based treatment: reassure and offer hope