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September 15, 2005 10:00 AM

Scotland's first mother and baby mental health service is amongst the finalists in this year's Nursing Times' Scottish Evidence into Practice Awards.

The pioneering Perinatal Mental Health Team, based at the Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit at the Southern General Hospital, were one of five winners announced today (Wednesday) by Health Minister Andy Kerr at the Nursing Times Live Exhibition at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.

The multi-disciplinary team is staffed by 24 health professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, nursery nurses, a health visitor, social worker and nursing assistants.

The unit provides improved care and treatment of mothers with mental illness and at the same time enables them to care for their child.

The £1000 prize won by the team will be invested in future training.

Rosslyn Crocket, Nurse Director of NHS Greater Glasgow, said:"I am delighted for the team.

"This is very well deserved because they are a very young and innovative team, and for such a small service it is all the more satisfying that their achievements have been recognised."

Karen Robertson, Nurse Consultant Perinatal Health, added: "This is a real boost for the team and recognition for all of their hard work."

Evidence and techniques gained already from the work of the team are already being used in presentations at conferences and seminars across NHS Board areas in Scotland.

Officiallylaunched last October, the unique £1.3m six bedded unit enables mothers to stay with their babies while they undergo treatment for a range of mental illnesses, including postnatal depression and puerperal psychosis (a more severe postnatal mental illness).

Referrals to the Unit are accepted from primary care (community health services such as GPs), maternity and secondary care services.It is expected that up to 80 women will use the unit's services each year.

The development of the new Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit is an integral part of initiatives across Greater Glasgow to improve services for pregnant women and new mothers who experience mental illness.

This includes a new community team, based at the Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit, which supports the vast majority of women who do not require inpatient care.

A screening system to help midwives and health visitors identify pregnant women who have, or are at risk of developing, mental health problems is also being rolled out across the city.

A total of 22 applicants, covering a comprehensive range of clinical practice from all over the country, were asked to describe an area of their practice which had changed as a result of applying research evidence and the subsequent outcome for patients.

Background Information

Around 10 to 15% of women may suffer from depression during pregnancy or after childbirth.Most women recover with the help of a midwife, health visitor and GP.A proportion will experience more serious depression and around 1 in 500 women will suffer from puerperal psychosis, a severe illness usually requiring admission to hospital.Postnatal Depression is a different condition to the ‘baby blues' which can occur on the fourth day after the baby is born.Mothers may find themselves crying for no particular reason, but this usually passes in a day or two as long as the mother has had a chance to rest.PND is a more prolonged illness and can be caused by a number of factors.These include psychological and social factors such as the demands, obligations and responsibilities of being a mother.

A new mother may fear that she is inadequate and not able to live up to her own and/or other people's expectations; family factors are also important, including the relationship a mother has with the child's father; and the support she receives from other people or biological factors may also play a role including the hormonal changes that occur.

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015