Mental health

Half of suicides by women, while pregnant or after giving birth, “preventable”

(Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

A study conducted by experts in the UK has found that half of all suicides by women in the UK while pregnant or after giving birth could have been prevented by better mental health care and outreach. Between 2009 and 2013 there were 101 suicides by women in the UK and Ireland during pregnancy or up to a year later. Although half of these women had previously suffered from depressive illness, only 15 percent of them had contact with specialist perinatal mental health services. Of the 236 clinical commissioning group/health board areas in the UK, only 57 meet national standards for perinatal mental health teams and 96 have no provision at all. Experts are saying this absence of specialized mental health outreach is costing the country dearly: around 15 percent of women experience mental health illness during or within a year after pregnancy, and mental health-related deaths account for 17 percent of all maternal deaths in the UK. A number of royal colleges, representing healthcare professionals, are urging greater investment in mental health services. For now, the study finds that 40 percent of at-risk women are still unable to get any specialist perinatal mental health care, and only 25 percent receive the highest standard of care.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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