Perinatal mental health is a clinical priority for the College, says RCGP

Publication date: 08 February 2017

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to new NICE guidelines on supporting new mothers with mental health problems.

She said: “It’s vital that new mothers do not put off seeing their GP because they think any adverse feelings they are having after pregnancy are 'normal', so it’s encouraging that NICE is acknowledging this.

“While attitudes to mental health issues do seem to be improving in society as a whole, unfortunately mothers with mental health problems are often reluctant to raise these issues for fear of being stigmatised or judged as 'bad' mothers by healthcare professionals, and fears that social services might be called in to investigate.

“It’s incredibly hard for GPs to explore all the physical and psychological factors affecting our patients’ health and to offer contraceptive advice within the constraints of the standard consultation. But the routine six-week postnatal appointment can be a great opportunity for GPs and new mothers to discuss issues around mental health and wellbeing – and begin to address any resulting concerns.

“Perinatal mental health is a clinical priority for the College, and we have developed resources to support GPs and our teams to deliver the best possible mental health care for our patients during and after pregnancy.”


Further Information

Access the RCGP's perinatal mental health toolkit here

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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