Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is marking World Patient Safety Day on Friday, 17 September, by lighting up their Trust headquarters (The Curve) orange – the signature mark of World Patient Safety Day.
This year’s World Patient Safety Day, which is a worldwide event, organised by the World Health Organisation, is dedicated to the need to prioritise and address safety in maternal and newborn care, particularly around the time of childbirth, when most harm occurs.
GMMH will be championing patient safety and highlighting their Mother and Baby services, including the work of their perinatal mental health teams available to women across Greater Manchester and their Building Attachments and Bonds Support service in Wigan.
One in five women experience a perinatal mental health problem during their pregnancy and in the first year after giving birth. Specialist perinatal mental health care is so important as almost a quarter of women who died between six weeks and one year after childbirth died from mental health problems and one in seven of those women died from suicide. 
GMMH’s perinatal mental health services support women and their families who have thoughts or acts of self-harm, mental health symptoms that impact women during the perinatal period and who are experiencing feelings of estrangement from their baby or feelings of being incompetent as a parent.
Perinatal mental health services offer a range of interventions which include psychological therapies, specialist perinatal mental health community care, expert by experience peer support and perinatal mental health inpatient care. These interventions are delivered from a large multidisciplinary team of perinatal consultant psychiatrists, occupational therapists, mental health nurses, social workers, expert by experience peer support workers, psychologists, occupational therapists and nursery nurses.
A mum, who received support from GMMH’s perinatal mental health team, said: “I was referred to the perinatal mental health team by my health visitor. From the beginning I felt so supported and listened too. The Perinatal mental health nurse has been great, easy to talk too and really supportive - helped me understand my treatment options and rang and checked in with me when I had to re arrange an appointment.
“I'm now in therapy for OCD and Anxiety doing ERP and it's going well. I can’t thank those who supported me enough - I thought things would never get better.”
The Mother and Baby Services available across Greater Manchester include a community mental health perinatal team and an inpatient mother and baby mental health unit at Laureate House in Wythenshawe, which admits women from across the UK and provides specialist mental health care to pregnant women during the third trimester and mothers in the first postnatal year.
Any health professional can refer someone to GMMH’s Mother and Baby services, including midwives, obstetrics, health visitors, psychologists, GP’s and other mental health services.
Pregnant women or new parents can also access GMMH’s psychological therapies by referring themselves to the service or asking their GP to make a referral.
GMMH’s perinatal services are also piloting a new service called the Maternal Mental Health Service. This service works with women experiencing moderate/severe or complex mental health difficulties. These women will be offered psychological interventions to support them with emotional distress associated with loss and trauma directly arising from, or related to, the Maternity experience.
The team supporting women work closely with experts by experience and voluntary services who offer peer to peer support including, Spoons, Finding Rainbows and DadMatters. The clinical team include a nurse practitioner, a clinical psychologist, a psychology assistant, and a specialist midwife.
In Wigan, GMMH’s Building Attachments and Bonds Support service work with parents and carers who are expecting a baby and those with babies and toddlers up to the age of three years old.
The service provides essential support to mums and dads who are having difficulty bonding or developing their relationship with their baby or toddler. Those registered with a GP in Wigan can refer themselves to the service or ask their GP to make a referral.
Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Governance at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are incredibly proud of the care and dedication of our staff in maintaining a caring, safe and excellent environment for our service users and their families every day.
“Considering the serious consequences poorly managed, perinatal mental health problems can have on mums, their babies and other family members, we stand behind the global campaign raising awareness of the importance of safety in maternal and newborn care.
“Our teams work hard to ensure women and their babies are kept as safe as possible and that specialist, respectful maternal and newborn care is accessible when needed, so that more lives can be saved through the provision of safe care. If you are pregnant, have a partner who is pregnant, or have a baby under one year old and feel you need support with your mental health, please speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor about getting a referral to our mother and baby services.”
To find out more about GMMH’s Mother and Baby services or refer yourself to any of the services available, please visit: www.gmmh.nhs.uk/mother-and-baby-services
For more information on the awareness day and its background, click here to see the WHO website.
In the photo is our Perinatal Community Mental Health Team.
 MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care: Surveillance of Maternal Deaths in the UK 2011–13 and Lessons Learned to Inform Maternity Care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009–13. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford; 2015 [www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/ mbrrace-uk/reports]