The Leeds Perinatal Mental Health Service provides specialist input to women experiencing significant mental health difficulties during pregnancy and the first year following a child’s birth. A variety of treatment options are available, most commonly on an out-patient basis. The service also provides inpatient care at the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit.
Interventions available include:
care planning for the perinatal period
specialist advice on risks and benefits of medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding
community nurse visits
nursery nurse sessions
Jabbadao – sensory group play sessions for mothers and babies
video-interaction guidance – a mother infant intervention to improve attachment and communication
cognitive behavioural therapy – screening for CBT and short-term therapy may be offered for perinatal difficulties
liaison with other professionals
signposting to other useful services
inpatient assessment and treatment at the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit.
This service is funded by NHS England Specialised Commissioning to offer three care options to women and mental health professionals across the regions:
A pre-conception counselling clinic
Management advice primarily for high-risk pregnant women within the region
Follow-up of women across the region discharged from the inpatient Mother and Baby Unit in Leeds.
Referrals will be accepted from secondary mental health care services, although telephone enquiries will be taken from other health care professionals. The referral documentation can be found at the bottom of this section.
The Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit
The Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit provides an inpatient environment where mothers experiencing severe mental health difficulties can receive treatment and support while continuing to care for their baby. Most women experiencing mental health difficulties will be able to remain at home and receive treatment. In some cases when a mother is severely unwell, treatment in hospital may be indicated. The Mother and Baby Unit is a small, safe friendly unit with specialist staff who work to enable mothers to recover from difficulties and return home with appropriate support.
You may benefit from admission if:
You have a history of a serious psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or severe depression and need inpatient care during the perinatal period.
You experience an episode of postpartum psychosis: This is a rare but serious disorder which can include changes in thinking (delusions) or unusual experiences (hearing or seeing things), confusion, severe anxiety, over-activity and changes in behaviour. It is very treatable but due to its severity admission to hospital is usually necessary.
You experience an episode of significant depression or anxiety, particularly if this is affecting your bond with your baby.
We provide preconception counselling to women at risk of developing significant mental health difficulties during pregnancy or postnatally. This is recommended if you have experienced serious mental health difficulties such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression or previous postpartum psychosis. Even if you have been well for many months or years it is important to be aware of the possibility of relapse in the perinatal period and to discuss the options should this occur.
If you have a family history of postpartum psychosis or bipolar disorder, it is also advisable to be counselled on the risks of becoming unwell and management options.
If you are planning a pregnancy, you may benefit from meeting with a member of our team to discuss the following:
your individual risk of becoming unwell in the perinatal period
whether treatment will be beneficial during pregnancy and postnatally
risks and benefits of different medication during pregnancy and in breastfeeding; this may include meeting with a pharmacist and discussing the most recent information on medication
relapse prevention strategies
support and monitoring during pregnancy and post delivery
early warning signs of illness
care available should you become unwell.
Preconception counselling takes place at the Perinatal Mental Health Service at The Mount. In most cases a single 90 minute appointment is sufficient, sometimes a follow up appointment is arranged to discuss things further.
The preconception counselling clinic provides consultation, information and advice, not ongoing care. Referral to our service for treatment may be one of our recommendations should you become pregnant.
You may wish to bring your partner to the appointment to involve them in understanding risks and treatment decisions.
With your consent we usually send a copy of the clinic letter to your GP and other relevant professionals involved in your care. They will then be aware of the recommendations and your wishes regarding treatment when you are trying to conceive or become pregnant. You will be offered a copy of any letters sent.
If you are registered with a Leeds GP practice, you can be referred for preconception counselling by your GP or Community Mental Health Team.