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In the lead-up to Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 May, the local NHS and voluntary and community sector organisations are urging women and their families to access support for their mental health concerns during and after pregnancy.

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists one in five women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or in the first year after birth.

Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership’s Best 1001 Days Programme aims to improve experiences and outcomes of the pregnancy and birth journey across the district and one of the key focuses of this is perinatal mental health.

In Bradford District and Craven there are a range of community support services available to women and their families during and after pregnancy to support their mental health. This includes Bradford Doulas, Roshni Ghar, Family Action, as well as NHS services and many more.

Abbie Wild, Programme Manager for Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership Best 1001 Days Programme, said: “Across our area, there are a number of support services provided by the NHS and voluntary and community sector, which women and their families can access for their mental health concerns during and after pregnancy. You can find all local support services in Bradford District and Craven listed on the Healthy Minds website.

“In the UK, suicide is a leading cause of maternal deaths within a year after childbirth. We know that COVID-19 increased the mental health risks for new and expectant mums and if left untreated, it can have a devasting impact on women and their families. I would strongly encourage women to come forward and to seek support, whether it’s during or after your pregnancy so that we can make sure you receive the care you need to recover.”

Katie James, service manager at Family Action, said: “Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is really important to raise awareness of how common maternal mental ill health is and how serious it can be for mothers, babies and families.

“78% of women who are generally mentally well, experience negative thoughts during the perinatal period. Family Action provides support for those who experience mild to moderate mental health issues during the perinatal period and our volunteer peer supporters provide emotional support through listening.”

For further information about maternal mental health and support services available in your area, visit