Dr Mendinaro Imcha, consultant obstetrician, Dr Mohamad, and service user and mum Amie Naughton, Thomondgate Picture: Alan Place
THE FIRST patients of a special perinatal mental health service in Limerick told medical professionals that they felt they were previously not able to access help for their mental health needs.
That is according to consultant psychiatrist, Dr Mas Mahady Mohamad at the launch of the new initiative between University Maternity Hospital Limerick and the HSE, serving thousands of mothers in the Mid-West.
Women in the Mid-West will be able to access the service through a GP, midwife or obstetrician referral.
Welcoming the service, which has been in operation for two months, Dr Mohamad said their focus is to provide high quality care for women with moderate to severe mental health difficulties, preconceptually, throughout the pregnancy and up to the first postnatal year.
“Research highlights the importance of maternal mental health on health outcomes for the mother and the developing baby. Unfortunately, women who suffer from perinatal mental illness often do so in isolation, fearful of being stigmatised. In the two months that we’ve been in service, we’ve heard many personal stories of women who felt that they were not able to access help or support for their mental health needs.
"More than anything else, these stories motivate me to further develop services for women and families in the Mid-West. My hope is that if these perinatal mental illnesses are identified and treated early, we can potentially avoid many of their short and long-term consequences to mothers, children and families.”
UL Hospitals Group CEO, Prof Colette Cowan said the launch of the service was “very special” and “much-needed”.
HSE Mid-West chief officer, Bernard Gloster said it was “another very progressive step” in mental health care.