We were beside ourselves with joy this week when we got the news that the Minister for Health, Robin Swann, had finally signed off on funding for specialist perinatal mental health services in Northern Ireland.
For many, many years women in Northern Ireland have been suffering from perinatal mental illness with very little, and often no, access to services or support. Now women from all over our wee country will have access to these services in their own health trusts, and the relief that brings to us at We Are Pangs is immeasurable.
We were especially glad to see this in the Minister’s announcement:
This new service will provide new multidisciplinary community perinatal mental health teams in each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts and will include a new stepped care model to ensure regional consistency. Perinatal mental health community teams will provide wrap around maternity and mental health care to women in the perinatal period experiencing mental health difficulties.
We Are Pangs have been providing support at a community levels for several years now and we hope to be able to work with the community teams to help provide the wraparound care and peer support so desperately needed for those parents who don’t meet the threshold for the new specialist services.
And while we’re so glad these specialist services will be in place very soon, there is still the fight to get a mother and baby unit in Northern Ireland.
But for now, we celebrate this success and thank everyone who has contributed over the years to get this across the line. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! Families in Northern Ireland will benefit from this win for generations to come and we look forward to many more successes like these in the future.
We particularly want to say a huge thank you to Lindsay Robinson from Have You Seen That Girl? who represented all of us parents by sharing her lived experience and making sure our voices were heard. Her sheer determination and passion was a driving force behind this campaign and we all owe her a debt of gratitute.