Our community-based service supports mothers who are experiencing, or who have previously experienced, severe mental health difficulties during pregnancy or up to a year after birth.
We provide support to women and their families across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove. Our leaflet explains the service in more detail:
Please note. As of 1 July 2022 the service provision for East Surrey was transferred to Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
We have four teams of perinatal mental health professionals from a range of different disciplines. These include psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists, parent-infant psychotherapists and nursery nurses.
Our team are all highly trained and specialise in perinatal adult and infant mental health.
We offer mums, their babies and families a meeting with one of our team to help them think about what they are going through and how being pregnant, or becoming a parent, has affected their wellbeing and that of their partner or wider family.
We provide our specialist service within:
- family homes
- accessible community venues
- some maternity hospitals, GP surgeries and children’s centres
Partners are welcome at all our clinic appointments.
Individuals cannot currently refer themselves to the service, but a referral can be made by any health professional. This includes midwives, health visitors, GPs, hospital-based teams, children’s centre and social workers, child and adolescent mental health services, adult mental health workers, assessment and treatment teams, crisis teams and all primary and secondary approved mental health professionals. If you are concerned about your own mental health, or that of a friend or family member, please talk to one of these professionals about making a referral.
GPs should refer through their patient booking system as they would for any other mental health referral.
All other healthcare professionals should complete one of the following referral forms and return it to spnt.perinatalreferrals@
We are a community-based service. As well as providing our specialist service in family homes, we hold clinics in a range of locations including community venues, maternity hospitals, GP surgeries and family centres. We will talk to you about where you would like your appointments to take place and agree a venue together.
During 9am-5pm, if there is immediate risk to a mother or her baby, please call your GP or go to A&E.
If you are concerned about your own mental health, or are looking after a woman and her baby who you believe is in crisis and requires an urgent response out of hours, please call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500.
The Sussex Mental Healthline is a 24/7 telephone service offering listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
Professionals who have any questions about our service, or who are not sure whether to refer a woman and her baby, or an expectant mother, can call one of our administrators, who will put them in touch with a specialist practitioner for an initial consultation:
- Coastal West Sussex: 0300 304 0214
- Northwest Sussex: 0300 304 0213
- Brighton and Hove: 0300 304 0097
- East Sussex: 0300 304 0212
SMS texting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is available on:
- Coastal West Sussex: 07388 994 062
- Northwest Sussex: 07388 228 048
- Brighton and Hove: 07808 632 004
- East Sussex: 07388 227 937
Alternatively, please email spnt.
We know that living through Covid-19 has been particularly difficult for women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby. Particularly for those who were struggling with their mental health anyway.
The Sussex Perinatal Mental Health Service remains fully staffed and operating as usual.
In addition to our face-to-face clinics, we have introduced a secure face to face digital platform called Attend Anywhere, which is similar to Zoom or Skype, to see women for appointments.
We continue to work closely with our maternity colleagues and are seeing women together with obstetricians and midwives in antenatal clinics and in hospital.
If you are struggling with your mental health during pregnancy, or in the first postnatal year, please talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor about what support they can offer and if a referral to our specialist perinatal mental health service might be helpful.
A message from the Sussex Perinatal Mental Health Service during Covid-19:
There are a number of useful online resources that have been developed to help people who are feeling anxious or struggling with their mental health at this time. There are some that have been developed specially for women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby.
- Advice from our specialist perinatal psychologist on managing difficult emotions during Covid
- COVID-19: Information on mental health before, during and after pregnancy. The Royal College of Psychiatry
- This website offers useful guidance for women struggling with mental health issues and worries about their maternity care at this difficult time. It also provides some helpful resources and links for professionals working with women at this time. Maternal Mental Health Alliance
- Eight short, funny videos with highly practical parenting tips for lockdown. Narrated by stars like Olivia Colman, Holly Willoughby and Danny Dyer. King's College London
- Produced by Sussex Partnership's Flourishing Families clinic, this explains how you can talk to children about COVID-19 and ease their anxieties. How to support children with anxieties around COVID-19
- Brighton and Sussex University Hospital's Maternity Service have developed a useful section of their website to answer your questions about having a baby at this difficult time. Having a baby during COVID-19
You may find this short film useful. It explains more about conditions such as anxiety and depression which can develop anytime from conception through the first year of a baby's life (created by NHS London Clinical Networks).
For Trust prescribers and GPs: Our prescribing guidelines
The Survivors Trust: Pregnancy, birth and parenthood after childhood sexual abuse
All 4 Maternity: Pregnancy, birth and parenthood after childhood sexual abuse
Bonding with your baby: Becoming a parent
Better mental health for new dads, partners and non-birthing parents (Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind)
Perinatal Mental Health: Prescribing Guidance for Trust Prescribers and GPs
A helpful film aimed at children aged 7 or 8 and struggling with a mum who has a mental health problem, Devon Partnership NHS Trust:
Age-appropriate stories and leaflets for children of parents admitted to mental health wards, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust
“Mummy is poorly” by Zoe Robinson. A children’s story about a little girl whose mother has mental health difficulties. It is intended to help parents start up conversations with children and also to remind professionals of the need to engage with patients’ children, Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Trust