Perinatal Community Mental Health Team (Darlington and Durham)

What is the perinatal mental health team?

The perinatal community mental health team provides a community service to support women who are experiencing mental health difficulties during pregnancy or in the first year after they have had their baby.

Why do we need a perinatal mental health team?

Mental illnesses affect more than one in ten women during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. 

During pregnancy and after birth, women can be affected by a range of mental health problems including anxiety disorders, depression and postnatal psychotic disorders.

Some women are at increased risk of experiencing mental illness in the perinatal period, particularly those who have suffered from a severe perinatal mental illness such as post-partum psychosis, severe depression and those with bipolar disorder.

Who works in the team?

The team is made up of specialist community psychiatric nurses, a consultant psychiatrist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a specialist nursery nurse, a peer support worker and administrative staff.

Who does the team see?

The team supports women living in County Durham and Darlington who are either pregnant or up to one year post-natal and who have been suffering with significant mental health difficulties, that requires specialist support from mental health services.

Who can refer me?

You can be referred by your GP, health visitor, midwife or another professional who works with you. Tel: 0191 451 0400

What will happen when I am referred?

You will be contacted by a member of the team to arrange a convenient appointment for your assessment. If we are unable to reach you by telephone we may send you an appointment by post. If you do not feel you need this appointment it would be helpful to let us know.

Your initial appointment can last up to an hour and is an opportunity for you to discuss your current difficulties. You are welcome to bring a friend, family member or other professional to this appointment if you would find this helpful.

Your baby may be present at appointments.

How can the team help me?

If we decide that the perinatal service is the best service to support you, you will be allocated to one of the clinicians within the team. They will then work with you to agree a care plan to help meet your individual needs and find solutions to support you on your road to recovery.

Will everything I say be kept confidential?

Everything you say, and the information you provide will be kept confidential within the perinatal team. The only instance in which we would need to break your confidentiality is if it was felt there was a risk to yourself or others, but we would speak to you about this.

Can my family and friends who care for me get help?

If you have an identified carer, we are able to offer them a carer’s assessment.

Out of hours support

If you need help outside of the perinatal team’s normal working hours, you can self-present at the crisis assessment suite at Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham at any time. You can also contact the crisis team on tel. 01388 452 900.

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