By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
The risk of suicide and the lack of a specialist mother and baby unit in Northern Ireland were two issues highlighted at a recent Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing event at Belfast City Hall.
Hosted by mental health campaigner Lindsay Robinson and Nuala Murphy from Moment Health, the event last Friday, May 12, heard calls for the need to provide access to safe, high-quality care to mothers and their babies.
Research released in 2014 revealed a staggering 80 per cent of areas in Northern Ireland have no specialist perinatal mental health services and there is no specialist inpatient mother and baby unit in the whole of Ireland.
Among those who addressed the event were Emily Slater, Maternal Mental Health Alliance; Theresa Nixon, RQIA; and Finola McGrady, Department of Health.
Ms Slater outlined the mental health costs of not tacking the issue.
The long-term costs to society of perinatal mental illness are more than £8bn for each annual cohort of births in the UK, said Ms Slater.
Nearly three-quarters of this cost results from the adverse impacts of perinatal mental illness on the child.
"The costs of perinatal mental illness — both human and economic — are too high to ignore," said Ms Slater