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Bliss call for better mental health care for parents on Welsh neonatal units

17 October 2017

A report released today by The Children and Young People's Committee of the Welsh Assembly calls for better support for parents after they give birth.

The report revealed that one in five mothers in Wales are affected by perinatal mental illness with up to 6,600 new mothers a year suffering from conditions including: depression, anxiety and psychosis.

The cross-party committee used evidence from the “Bliss baby report 2016: time for change Wales” to demonstrate the lack of statutory support for neonatal and bereaved parents, and the role the third sector has to play to try to fill this void.

Members of the committee have called on the Welsh Government to address the lack of psychological support for parents on neonatal units as a matter of priority. The committee recommends that the Welsh Government outline within six months of this report’s publication how it expects the lack of psychological support for neonatal and bereaved parents to be addressed and standards to be met, and what steps it will take if compliance with the standards is not achieved.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of the premature and sick baby charity Bliss said: “Bliss strongly supports the recommendations in this report, in particular the requirement that the Welsh Government urgently sets out how it will address the lack of psychological support for neonatal and bereaved parents.

“In 2016, Bliss found that only five out of 11 neonatal units in Wales were able to offer access to psychological support of any kind either on the unit or via referral. In addition, none of the three neonatal intensive care units in Wales had a dedicated trained mental health worker.[i] We urge Health Boards across Wales to work with the Welsh Government to implement changes as soon as possible to ensure that parents receive the psychological support they need whilst on the neonatal unit and beyond.”

The Children and Young People's Committee of the Welsh Assembly report can be read here

The Bliss baby report 2016: time for change can be read here

[i] From Bliss baby report 2016: time for change Wales

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