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Marcé International Conference 2014 – Key Themes and Messages

Perinatal Mental Health Care is seen as the Key to Unlocking the Inter-generational Impacts of Mental Ill-Health

Click Diagram to expand

Leading research from India and Pakistan, by Professor Vicram Patel of the World Health Organisation,

Studies across 18,000 women have shown that:

  • with “Training in Basic Awareness” and
  • providing “Information on How to Help

Psychosocial Interventions from peer support volunteers can provide effective support and treatment for >50% of those suffering from anxiety or mild to moderate depression.

A “lesson to be learned” and implemented in richer countries with limited resources.

Integrating maternal depression intervention with those targeting children and development effectively uses the desire of parents to better care for their children and utilizing non-professional human resource improves social interaction and builds wider support networks.

BUT in the UK, USA and Canada the provision of perinatal mental health services is poor to non-existent in most areas.

Some of the Key Messages and Themes from the 3 day international conference were:

  • Perinatal mental health is the leading cause of maternal deaths in UK (and many other developed countries) and is the key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational mental ill-health, poverty and low educational attainment.
  • The current evidence base shows that without assessment (screening), intervention and treatment, maternal mental ill-health has adverse life impacts not only upon the mother but on the child, mother’s partner and the entire family with a lowering of health and well-being, and poor or reduced socio-economic attainment that continues across generations.
  • Only “educated parents” have been shown to have significant success in overcoming and breaking the inter-generational adverse child-development cycle.
  • With anxiety just as prevalent as mild to moderate depression, early intervention is crucial both in terms of reducing any impact on child development and in reducing the duration and complexity of treatment required by those suffering the anxiety or depression.
  • Whilst evaluation of the UK government campaign “there is no health without mental health” shows to have had a positive change in attitudes to mental health key lessons learned includes the need to provide information (raise awareness) and discuss (encourage disclosure) at the first opportunity to overcome psycho-social barriers and allow for early intervention.
  • Whilst most dads may be unqualified, untrained and not specialists in in mental health they are primary providers of “peer support” for their partners, expected to act as carers in times of crisis.
  • The good news is that it is not necessary to have trained and qualified perinatal mental health professionals to make a significant difference, as peer support can be very effective too.
  • Evidence, if any was needed, supporting – the importance of involving dads in caring for mums and the need to provide dads with information, assistance and support.
  • Key to preventing a “repeating cycle” of anxiety or depression is resolving the triggers/factors that were the cause of the crisis or anxiety. Research evidence is that failure to treat and resolve these sometimes complex triggers results in “repeating cycles” that may last for decades.
  • Whilst the Marce Society, founded in the UK and established for more than 30 Years, has amassed a substantial body of evidence supporting the need to screen, assess and provide treatment for perinatal (maternal) mental ill-health the sad facts are that for most mums and families in the industrialised world the provision of perinatal mental health care is not prioritised and is mainly ignored.
  • Perinatal mental health is the leading cause of maternal deaths in UK (and many other developed countries) and is the key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational mental ill-health, poverty and low educational attainment.

For a more detailed synopsis of the Key Messages and Themes click here

It is time that the developed world took notice of the “Body of Evidence” amassed by the Marcé Society and at last implemented the “Lessons learned”

The lack of integrated perinatal mental health policy continues to impoverish maternal mental health in the UK and other developed countries.

In the UK and North America ongoing tragic effects to women and their families with unidentified, improperly or un-treated maternal mental health problems continue to make headline news…. and even then politicians and health care commisioners offer little in response.

According to a recent study by the National Child Birth Trust, 97% of the new Health and well-being boards have failed to include a policy on Perinatal Mental Health in their “Strategic Needs Assessments”.

Over the last ten years In the UK despite a plethora of NHS policy statements, Care Standards, Specialist Commissioning Guidelines and Department of Health promises on Perinatal Mental Health there has been a failure to commission specialist perinatal mental health care services across most of the UK.

For Maps of UK Perinatal Mental Health Service click here