MP calls on Govt to address maternal mental health

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, has today held a Westminster Hall debate on the mental health of mothers during the perinatal period, with a specific focus on the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated systemic problems for vulnerable women.

She commented: “The sheer volume of responses we’ve had in just a matter of days signals just how significant an issue this is, and how critical it is we act quickly.

Sarah Olney MP

“Even before the pandemic took hold of public resources, this was a service that was chronically underfunded and understaffed. It’s clear we need better mental health support for all ages and at all stages. We also need better training throughout our health service to identify and support those who are struggling. This must be a priority.”

Within the survey, it was revealed that over 60 per cent of respondents said that online appointments they had had with their health visitor had not been effective.

Sarah Olney added: “The pandemic has forced us to make use of digital tools in a number of new areas. We should not, however, allow digital and telephone perinatal check-ups to become the norm. I believe both the survey and today’s debate also highlighted the importance of preserving home visits.

“The Government must provide whatever funds necessary to ensure that the system is capable of protecting new and expectant mothers’ mental health.”

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