Perinatal services

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

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:

SMS texting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is available on:

Alternatively, please email

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.

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

View our Perinatal care pathway.

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

Being Pregnant... Preparing to Give Birth

Being With Your Baby... Becoming a Mum

NHS England, Perinatal information leaflets 

Sussex and East Surrey IAPT information leaflet

Perinatal mental health toolkit, Royal College of General Practitioners

Planning a pregnancy when you have a severe mental health illness

Delivering preconception to women of childbearing age with serious mental illness

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