STRUCTURE: The mental health FT is to launch a new service designed to help women in East and West Sussex who have mental illnesses during pregnancy and in the first year of their baby’s life.

The foundation trust will run the first Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service (SPMHS) in Sussex.

The service will provide a coordinated specialist approach for women who develop serious mental health problems related to pregnancy, mothers with post-natal mental illness and those with a pre-existing psychiatric condition.  

It will be operated by a multi-disciplinary team including six consultant psychiatrists and three senior mental health nurses.  

Trust general manager for specialist services Alison Rhodes said: “Every member of the team has a professional interest in perinatal mental health. The team expect to help around 60-70 mothers per year. 

“Referrals to the service will come from other clinical teams including midwives, GPs, health visitors, social workers, consultant obstetricians and Sussex Partnership community teams.”

Sussex Partnership said it intended the new service to be operational by the end of July.