Maternal depression can turn into a lifelong illness if not responded to and it is proven to increase risks to the unborn child and the safe development of the new baby.
Supporting the mother (and father as well as other family members where possible) and the developing infant through this period is recognised to be a key time for intervention in order to mitigate the negative outcomes.
Failure to fully address perinatal mental health problems carries a total economic and social long-term cost to society of over £8 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK, according to a report ‘The costs of perinatal mental health problems’ by the London School of Economics and Centre for Mental Health. The report finds this cost to the public sector is five times greater than the cost of providing the services that are needed throughout the United Kingdom.
Family Action is a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance which commissioned this report as part of its ‘Everyone’s Business’ campaign. The campaign calls for all women throughout the UK who experience perinatal mental health problems, to receive the care they and their families need, wherever and whenever they need it.
A recent report produced by Pro Bono Economics into the potential economic benefits of Family Action’s Perinatal Support Services shows there is evidence of a wide range of short and long term benefits for the women themselves, their children and society at large.
The services can deliver financial benefit of around £2,430 for each woman receiving support – rising to £4,383 if the monetisation of wellbeing is included. The long term benefits could be considerably more if the beneficial effects on children are taken into account.