Dr. Angelika Wieck, MD, FRCPsych

About the author

Perinatal mental health in Europe. What are the challenges in obtaining, funding and setting up perinatal mental health services?

Chair: Dr. Angelika Wieck, UK

About one in 5 childbearing women suffer from mental health problems which are enormously costly to the mother, the child, the wider family and society. In order to do justice to the specific needs of mother and child in the perinatal period it is necessary that they receive care from specialist staff who are experienced and well trained to provide appropriate care.

The first specialist mental health care centres for mothers and babies were set up in England. Since then perinatal mental health services have been developing in several other European countries, Australia and the United States, but provision is still patchy in many areas and in some countries it is non-existent.

This round table will discuss the challenges of achieving funding for perinatal mental health services and setting them up. A fundamental issue is the recognition of the health impacts and economic importance of perinatal mental health by politicians and health policy decision makers. The experience of overcoming these obstacles and finally successfully developing a National policy for England will be described by a panel member. In countries where there is no specialist provision the first step may be developing a model local service. Other panel members from England, Hungary, France and the United States will describe their experience of setting up mother and baby units and perinatal community mental health services in their area.

Panel members:

  • Dr. Angelika Wieck
  • Professor Hans-Peter Hartmann (Germany)
  • Dr. Kristian Plasmans (Belgium)
  • Professor Margaret Howard (USA)
  • Professor Tamas Kurimay (Hungary)
  • Ledia Laseri & Neera Chowdhary (World Health Organization)

Questions for panel members:

  1. What are in your experience the most successful strategies in winning the support of politicians and healthcare decision makers to fund specialist perinatal mental health services, nationally or locally?
  2. What are the most important lessons you have learnt in setting up a perinatal mental health service that would be helpful to others?

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