However, the last week has seen TV, internet and news media replete with stories about the lack of adequate perinatal mental health services in the UK. The Maternal Mental Health Alliance has started a campaign called Everyone’s Business. The group has mapped perinatal mental health services across UK and bemoaned the lack of mother baby units and specialised services for mothers who have a mental illness.
This is their website-
www.everyonesbusiness.org.uk and maternalmentalhealthalliance.org.uk/
We in India are still waking up to the fact that there needs to be special services for mums and babies when there is a postpartum mental illness. There is only one specialised unit in the whole country as of now at NIMHANS and we hear one more is going to start at another tertiary psychiatry centre soon!
Can you imagine how that would look on a map, a small blip in a South Indian city, in a country where nearly 20 million children are born every year!
We at NIMHANS started the five bedded unit in 2009 and have admitted around 320 mums and babies. We believe it is possible to run a service of a high standard if you have the motivation, a committed multidisciplinary team and administrative support. We have trained almost 100 trainee mental health professionals in the last five years and many of them are practising in different parts of the country.
It would be wonderful if in the next five years, every state in India could have a specialised Mother Baby Psychiatry Unit. We could first start with dedicated outpatient perinatal psychiatry services. We from the NIMHANS team will be happy to share our protocols and training packs and also want to learn from others who might be doing this in their own
INDIA TOO NEEDS A PERINATAL PSYCHIATRY CAMPAIGN!!!