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Lack of services hurting women’s mental health – Buckley

8 March, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin TD and deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley has called for improved perinatal supports to combat mental health problems faced by women.

The Cork East Deputy made his comments on International Women’s Day following reports from the  Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) and Retired obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to the Oireachtas Health committee, which described the lack of provision for mental health services for new mothers was “not acceptable in 2017”.

Deputy Buckley said:

“There is a wide range of healthcare issues relating to pregnancy which are playing a major role in poor mental health outcomes for women due to a lack of support services.

“We have no unit for mothers to be treated with their new baby if they experience postnatal mental health problems. Britain has 20 such units. This means many women who experience mental health issues post-birth have no obvious place to go for treatment of their needs specifically and they are left to seek help from the already overstretched mental health services.

“AIMS described perinatal mental health as something which is being completely ignored. Around 30% of mothers experience mental health problem during or after pregnancy. It is simply not acceptable that so many women are left untreated at such a vulnerable time. This has an untold human cost on the woman and her child.

“The Minister, his Department, and the HSE must set out a clear plan for improving services and mental health outcomes for pregnant women and new mothers.” 

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