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NHS Education for Scotland

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Increasing perinatal mental health services for women in Scotland

Increasing perinatal mental health services for women in Scotland

Increasing perinatal mental health services for women in Scotland

In 2019, the Scottish Government launched a programme of work to increase the provision of perinatal mental health services to women and families in Scotland.

NES is implementing the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) curricular framework, delivered through the PIMH programme board, to support the Scottish Government programme.

This framework sets out the levels of knowledge and skills required by the Scottish workforce to promote well-being and good mental health during the perinatal period and to intervene when mental ill-health presents.

The PIMH framework was a collaboration with partners, stakeholders and those with lived experience of perinatal mental health problems and identifies the workforce training needs.

The PIMH framework is hosted on Turas Learn

The NES perinatal mental health programme covers three areas:

1. Increasing training places for psychological therapists

NES has been working with higher education institutions to increase training places for psychological therapists, including clinical psychologists, clinical associate practitioners and CBT therapists.

This investment recognises that most families who require mental health support in the perinatal period are seen in primary care or general secondary care services.

2. Addressing induction and CPD training needs for the growing specialist PIMH specialist services

NES collaborated with colleagues in PIMH services to produce a suite of seven e-learning modules, benchmarked against the PIMH curricular framework, and covering ‘essential’ knowledge for specialist staff, available at  Turas Learn

Watch Marie Claire and Leah from NES introduce users to the PIMH modules

The modules take between 30 and 45 minutes each to complete.

The experts by experience group welcomed the introduction of these modules and provided very positive feedback. Here are comments from two members of the group:

“What I find reassuring about them is that they have a very patient-centred approach. The focus on collaboration between patient and health professional is great, which of course is what all good health care should aim to be.” Anonymous
“All professionals in contact with mothers, fathers and babies during the perinatal should have a look at this material. It’s imperative that families have the confidence to know that professionals charged with their care have the specialist knowledge to support them.” Gill Skene, Experts by Experience Reference Group

In addition, NES collaborated with NHS colleagues and members of Maternal Mental Health Alliance to produce multi-disciplinary follow-on training for all specialist perinatal staff.

This training is delivered across health boards to encourage networking, shared learning and skills building. The first delivery of this training in April 2021 was well received by attendees:

“I enjoyed the discussion and input from those from other disciplines and areas of work. Enjoyed hearing different perspectives from those with varying experiences in perinatal as I am quite new” 
“Found that the training was at a good level and that the time allowed for each section was pitched well and found it did enforce the information in the NES modules” 
“I really enjoyed this training, I liked discussing each individual case study and it has improved my confidence” 

3. Perinatal Mental Health Champions training for Universal workforce of health visitors and midwives

The health visiting and midwifery workforce are vital in recognising and responding to the mental health needs of women, infants and their partners. NES commissioned the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) to provide perinatal mental health champions training for the universal workforce.

The iHV Champions programme is a train the trainer model. It supports front line practitioners to enhance their knowledge and skills in perinatal mental health and to take on informal champion roles providing advocacy and leadership.

The first group of 20 health visitors and midwives completed the two-day training in February 2021.  Feedback has been incredibly positive:

 “The training was excellent, and the trainers were very enthusiastic. During the training I was aware how some of these strategies would make a positive impact on families on my caseload and am keen to share with others. I will be forging better links with other professionals to look at how to do things better” 
“I will share information about the training with colleagues and encourage them to attend. I will ask mums and dads about their mental health every time I have contact with them.” 
“I would like to develop closer relationships with our midwifery team and maybe try and identify a link worker who would be keen to become a champion to enable better communication and sharing of information earlier. I will cascade the training locally.” 

A further 40 health visitors and midwives will complete the Perinatal Mental health champion training in September 2021 and February 2022.

Watch this space for updates as this important programme of work continues.

More information

PIMH Framework

PMH Training plan 

Marie Claire and Leah from NES introduce users to the PIMH modules

Turas Learn


June, 04 2021