Who we are
One in five women experiences mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after birth.
The Cheshire and Mersey Specialist Perinatal Service provides important mental health assessment and support for local women experiencing moderate to severe mental health issues during this time.
Working in partnership as part of a Cheshire and Merseyside-wide service, we have a team covering Liverpool and Sefton and a team covering Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington.
We can help in a number of ways:
One-to-one assessment and support
We provide one-to-one assessment and ongoing support for women who are pregnant or have a baby who is under 24 months, and:
- Are currently experiencing complex or severe mental health problems
- Have a history of or are at risk of developing severe or complex mental health problems during the perinatal period, even if they are currently well.
We offer one-off preconception appointments to provide advice, guidance and signposting to support women who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who:
- Have a history of complex mental health problems or are taking medication for mental health problems
- Are worried about the impact having a baby will have on their mental health
- Have anxiety around pregnancy, childbirth or becoming a parent.
Phone consultation and advice for health professionals
We provide advice over the phone for any health or social care professionals working with women who are receiving support from primary or secondary mental health services and are either pregnant, planning a pregnancy or have a baby who is under 24 months.
- The Specialist Perinatal Service supports women* and families across Cheshire and Merseyside to access specialist advice about their mental health during the perinatal period (pregnancy to 24 months postnatal)
- We support all women of childbearing age (no upper or lower age limit to refer). Where the woman is under 18 years of age, joint working with CAMHs will be recommended
- We support women who are registered or in the process of registering with a GP located within Cheshire and Merseyside.
*The term ‘woman’ is used however, it is acknowledged that not all people referred identify with this term. The Specialist Perinatal Service is inclusive of all people giving birth.
Our team works as part of a Cheshire and Merseyside-wide service in partnership with Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
We work closely with other healthcare professionals including midwives, health visitors, social workers and early help workers. We also work with our colleagues in adults' and child and adolescent mental health services.
- We do not currently accept self-referrals but women can be referred to our service by any professional supporting them such as GP, midwives, health visitors, social workers, voluntary sector agencies
- Please make sure you have consent from the woman to make the referral and please advise all women to expect a call from a duty clinician when we receive this referral to complete a telephone triage
- Routine and urgent referrals into the service are made by completing our referral form and emailing this to your local Specialist Perinatal Service
- Emergency referrals do not require a referral form and should be made via telephone to the local Specialist Perinatal Service between Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Cheshire and Wirral – 0151 488 8434
Mersey Care (Halton, Warrington, St Helens and Knowsley) – 01925 275 303
Mersey Care (Liverpool and Sefton) – 0151 702 4012
- Outside of these working hours referrers should contact our of hours services such as Mental Health Crisis Lines (24/7) - visit our urgent help page.
Your first appointment is the start of building a relationship with your healthcare professional. The appointment will either be at a venue in your local area or in your own home. Children and family are welcome to the first appointment, however, we can also see you alone if you prefer.
The first appointment will be an opportunity to talk about your current and past difficulties, as well as any future worries you have. It can be helpful to be prepared for this appointment - perhaps by writing down your concerns and bringing an up-to-date medication list and birth plan, if you have one.
We understand it can be a difficult time and for some people, talking about the past and future worries can be distressing. The appointment can be stopped at any time and continued again at a later date if necessary.
Below you can watch a video with Hannah, a mum from Warrington who has used our Specialist Perinatal Service. In the video, Hannah shares her experience of postnatal depression after the birth of her son, and how our service has helped her.