The new research published in BJGP, helps to explain why so many new mothers suffering from mental health problems do not seek help and it highlights that many mothers are afraid of being judged or that social services might get involved.
We strongly support RCGP’s view that the routine six-week postnatal check is a crucial opportunity for GPs and new mothers to discuss issues around mental health and that the checks need be much longer so that GPs are able to give both the new mother and baby enough attention. We also support RCGP’s call for more resources for GPs so they can fully meet the needs of new mothers.
NCT’s #HiddenHalf campaign is pressing for every new mother to get a full appointment for the maternal check at six weeks after birth. We released new research in June, showing that new mothers are particularly susceptible to feelings of failure and fear of judgement, which mean they are less likely to proactively seek medical help for mental health problems. Therefore a supportive conversation with a GP is vital to accessing treatment.
NCT is calling for more funding and better guidance for doctors for the six week check and is asking supporters to sign up to the campaign at www.nct.org.uk/hiddenhalf.