25 July 2022

CNWL has just launched the Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Peer Support project in partnership with local charity, Home-Start. This follows a successful pilot programme in 2021-22 which ended earlier this year.

The PMH Peer Support project consists of trained Home-Start volunteers providing weekly one-to-one visits to 50 women using CNWL PMH services in the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon over a 12-month period. These Peer Support volunteers will be aligned to CNWL’s existing PMH teams. CNWL also offers funding for the project and the clinical expertise of perinatal mental health staff.

The aim of this project is to provide practical and emotional support to families and mothers experiencing psychological difficulties during pregnancy or a year after the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of new and expectant mothers and covers a wide range of conditions.

Elli Josephs, Home-Start PMH Lead, said: “the economic and social hardship many families are facing at the moment can increase the risk of perinatal mental health problems. We are so pleased to continue working alongside CNWL’s community PMH teams, combining their clinical expertise with Home-Start’s holistic family support to ensure more women and their families receive appropriate, timely support.”

Home-Start is a charity working across the capital to provide support to families with children under the age of five offering no judgement; just compassionate and confidential help and support. Initiatives by Home-Start include: home-visiting support, family or parenting groups, running trips and outings.

A key focus of CNWL PMH services is to improve access to, and quality of, mental health care for families with a focus on additional activities that expand the reach of our services. This project fulfils a goal of the NHS Long Term Plan and a commitment to transform specialist PMH services across England. We aim to ensure that by 2023/24, at least 66,000 women with moderate, complex or severe PMH difficulties can access care and support in the community.

Denise Sullivan, CNWL PMH Clinical Services Lead, said: “the Home-Start project with CNWL is a wonderful initiative through which we can provide further support for women and their families improving engagement, confidence, and general wellbeing. The support has been valued by families and CNWL alike. We look forward to building on our existing relationship for the benefit of the families we work to support.”

Tariro Gumbo, Community Partnerships and Engagement Lead for CNWL’s Jameson Division, says: “As an NHS Trust we value our partners, such as Home-Start London. They enable us to connect with and reach out to the communities we serve. A lot of hard work went into this so a massive thank you to my CNWL colleagues within the Perinatal services and, of course, to the Home-Start team. It is our hope that this service will support many families across London and that it will become a great example of the power in collaboration and partnership working.”