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Calls for more help for parents experiencing perinatal depression in Wales

Credit: PA images

A charity that supports men and women with perinatal depression is calling for specialist mother and baby units in Wales.

PANDAS Foundation is highlighting the issue at the launch of the first national awareness week in the UK.

It comes after a recent survey of parents found many suffer with suicidal thoughts and say there's not enough help for them before and after they have a baby.

Credit: PA images

The charity says that although mental health is being spoken about more than it ever has, pre and post natal mental illnesses are still left in the dark.

Perinatal depression is when parents experience this type of mental issue before and after the birth of their baby.

It's said to affect one in ten women and one in three men in the UK.

These suicidal feelings, people feeling like there's not enough support. Particularly in Wales, there's no mother and baby unit. That is really shocking to us. Wales is a country in the United Kingdom and at present do not have a mother and baby unit. It's shameful.

– Catherine Jones, PANDAS Foundation

The Welsh Government says it's introducing new community-based specialists to help improve mental health outcomes for parents with perinatal depression.

It’s vital that we support mental wellbeing before, during and after pregnancy and that services are available for women who have mental health problems at this important time in their lives.

Last year we announced new perinatal mental health services will be set up across Wales and services are developing well with over 30 new specialist staff being recruited backed by £1.5m of new investment. The new community-based specialist services in every Welsh health board will help to improve mental health outcomes for women with perinatal illnesses, their babies and their families .The new services are already offering advice and practical support for mothers who have mental health problems.

It is very rare indeed for a mother to need to be admitted to hospital with her baby, however, in those circumstances the Welsh Health Specialist Services work with local services to find a bed as close to home as practical and the new community services can now support the mother’s return home more quickly to their families.

– Welsh Government spokesperson