Solent NHS Trust supports maternal mental health through online portal

Solent NHS Trust is raising awareness of its new online portal, Family Assist Solent, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The portal provides information for expectant and new mothers, parents and families during pregnancy, birth and beyond, including mental health guidance and support.

Since Family Assist was launched in January 2022, the trust has registered 25,000 visitor interactions, with the online content viewed more than 7,000 times.

The portal  supports the themes of  Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (‘power of connection’) and Mental Health Awareness Week (combatting loneliness) by enabling parents to reach out for help and providing them with the guidance and information they need.

Kelly Pierce, Head of Integrated Early Help and Prevention, was behind the idea for Family Assist. She said: “We know that being a first-time parent or expanding your family can feel daunting and worrying and that this was heightened for many in West Sussex and beyond during the pandemic. We knew it was important to create a Solent version of Family Assist to give instant information and guidance from professionals in clear and reassuring ways.”

Charlotte Gatehouse, Specialist Health Visitor for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, added: “A quarter of women experience mental health difficulties during pregnancy and the first 2 years after having a baby however evidence suggests there are many potential barriers to accessing support including insufficient information and stigma.

“Family Assist Solent offers an opportunity to improve care by providing discrete and accessible information and connection with services at the earliest opportunity; raising awareness of mental health difficulties and the support available with the aim to break down stigma and empower parents to reach out and be involved in decisions about their care.’’

In recent news HTN reported on Tavistock and Portman NHS launching mental health training for schools and we recently held a live webinar with Heather Cook and Dr Masood Nazir who discussed digital treatment for mental health.