July 18, 2024

One in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or after birth, and 70 per cent of them will not seek advice or support as they do not think it is important or do not want to be a burden.

But thanks to two services, ‘Thrive’ and ‘Helping You Grow Stronger (HUGS)’, which are offered by our mental health specialist midwives, women and their families affected by mental health issues during and after pregnancy are getting the help and support they need at the earliest opportunity.

To mark the 25th anniversary of maternity services and the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit transferring from All Saints Hospital in Chatham to the hospital, the teams that run the services are hosting a stand as part of a special public exhibition which takes place in the Atrium, Level 2 Green Zone, from 10am to 4pm on Monday 8 July.

In addition to displays of photos and memorabilia, midwives, specialist midwives and neonatal nursing staff will be available to talk to patients and visitors about their work, advances in medicine and technology and the different services available today compared to 1999.

Thrive, which was launched in January last year, is an inclusive, multi-professional service, offering assessment and short-term interventions specifically for psychological trauma, as a result of birth trauma or the loss of a baby during pregnancy or soon after birth.

Offered in partnership with Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT), it supports those who have previously received psychological care and treatment from primary care or counselling services but are still experiencing trauma symptoms and require further treatment.
Specialist Mental Health Midwife Donna Collins works with KMPT Senior Psychological Therapist Hannah Clayson, and Psychological Therapist Jo Goldspring, who leads the service, alongside Peer Support Practitioner Loren Armstrong.

Donna provides midwifery clinical expertise and knowledge in relation to birth trauma and perinatal loss, and support for future pregnancies, while the KMPT therapists offer treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR)* and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT)**.

Direct referrals to the service can be accepted from any health or social care professional directly involved in the care of the person, for example a midwife, obstetrician, counsellor, therapist or GP. Since launching the service has received 73 referrals.

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