Home-Start style of support key factor in maternal mental health provision The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is calling for ALL women and families across the UK to have equitable access to essential, high-quality perinatal mental health care, including the type of voluntary and community care that Home-Start provides. As a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance we are pleased to join this call and to support the launch of a new phase of the Everyone’s Business campaign calling for essential perinatal mental health care for all women and families in the UK, known as 'make all care count'. • More than 1 in 10 women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or the first years after birth (known as ‘the perinatal period’). • The COVID-19 pandemic is creating additional challenges and further increasing mental health risks for new and expectant mums. • Now more than ever, the services supporting women and families with their perinatal mental health need to be protected and enhanced. Making all care count for women and their families: The Maternal Health Alliance wants to ensure that everyone who comes into contact with women before, during or after pregnancy has the opportunity to provide mental health support. Only by taking a proactive, rounded approach to maternal mental health can the significant human and economic costs of undiagnosed or untreated PMH problems be prevented. The MMHA’s ‘Make all care count’ campaign phase highlights and defines those services – in addition to specialist PMH services – that can play a crucial role in improving outcomes for women with or at risk of poor maternal mental health, including: Maternity services Health visiting GPs and other primary care Mental health services Parent-infant services Children’s services Voluntary and community services Becky Saunders, Head of Policy, Home-Start UK said: “We welcome this new phase of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance campaign to ‘make all care count’ and are pleased to see recognition of the need for a number of different services to form a protective, and preventative, safety net around a mother’s mental health. Volunteers and community sector organisations like Home-Start have an invaluable role to play as one part of this safety net. Our staff and trained volunteers provide practical and emotional support to parents, tailored to their specific needs. Working in the home, alongside mothers, we have a crucial opportunity to identify perinatal mental health difficulties early on and to support parents to access specialist services where needed. We know many parents will feel reluctant to ask for help, or uncertain about when some additional support would make a positive difference. Stigma around mental health, the myth of the perfect parent, and a lack of trust in professionals, or lack of easily accessible or culturally appropriate support can also be barriers to speaking out about difficulties. Making all care count, will help to reduce stigma and to strengthen community networks so that more mothers, and their partners, know when, where, and how to seek help and are more comfortable to do so”. Emily Slater, CEO of the MMHA, says: “I am delighted that the MMHA is launching ‘Make all care count’ today to expand our campaign focus to other areas of essential care that can dramatically affect the lives of women with perinatal mental health problems. Specialist services continue to be the foundational building block for perinatal mental health care but, on their own, they cannot meet the needs of all women and families. I would like to thank the National Lottery for making this work possible, as well as our members, lived experience champions and other experts who have made this day a reality.” About The Maternal Mental Health Alliance The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is a UK-wide charity and network of over 100 organisations, dedicated to ensuring women and families affected by perinatal mental problems have access to high-quality comprehensive care and support. We bring the maternal mental health community together and make change happen by combining the power of real-life experience with clinical and professional expertise.