PERINATAL mental health services in the Black Country are set to benefit from more than £1.2m of national funding.

Following three community mental health pilot schemes this year – including one at Russells Hall Hospital – the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has been awarded the money develop specialist services during the next 12 months.

The pilot perinatal mental health liaison clinics were set up with the aim of providing better, more timely support and treatment for pregnant women and new mums who suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

It is anticipated an additional 240 women will benefit from the extra funding.

Dr Vanathi Kennedy, of Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust, will now deliver training and advice to professionals across the region.

She said: “Mental health problems can be some of the most debilitating conditions because they impact on the whole person and the friends and family around them.

“I have enjoyed motherhood but also experienced how vulnerable a woman can be during pregnancy and following the baby’s arrival.

“The personal and social demands of pregnancy and looking after a new baby can mean women are more at risk, especially if they have a pre-existing mental health condition.

“I have spent the past 12 months working at the Barberry Mother and Baby Unit in Birmingham and it has been a pleasure to be able to make a difference to the lives of these women. I look forward to making a bigger impact across the Black Country.”