The Duchess of Cambridge has discussed the mental health issues affecting new mothers and their babies, in a meeting with academics and scientists today [Wednesday 24 January].
At least 20% of women are affected by mental health problems, including postnatal depression or psychosis, during pregnancy or the first year following the birth of a child, according to the team at King’s College London’s Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute.
The researchers, who are currently developing treatments, explained to the Duchess that if left untreated these issues can have significant and long lasting effects on women and their family.
The Duchess, who is pregnant with her third child, also learned about what support is currently available for new mothers and the way that biology can impact maternal health and wellbeing.
Inside the laboratory, which is one of Europe’s largest neuroscience sites for this type of research, the Duchess was given a briefing on perinatal psychiatry.
While meeting members of staff, including Professor Ian Everall, executive dean of the institute, and Trudi Seneviratne, perinatal psychiatrist and associate clinical director, the Duchess was also shown brain scans of babies and their mothers taking part in trials.
Once the Duchess finished at King’s College, she visited the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, which is part of the Maudsley Trust in south London.
The unit specialises in the treatment of antenatal and postnatal mental health illnesses including postnatal depression and post-partum psychosis.
Yesterday the Duchess launched a mental health support website, available for primary school aged children.
It is hoped ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ will provide primary school teachers with the practical verified resources they need to better support their pupils.
One in 10 children experience a mental health difficulty by age 11 and until now, many teachers looking for advice on the issue have found the information available difficult to navigate, as it is often unclear whether it is expertly verified.