Cornwall is to become one of the first places in the country to set up a new dedicated hub to support new, expectant or bereaved mothers with their mental health.

The new hubs will bring together maternity services, reproductive health and psychological therapy under one roof as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Women will receive care and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after giving birth, to others with a severe fear of childbirth.

Cornwall has been listed as one of ten 'early implementors' of the scheme, along with Devon and eight places in the Midlands, North East, North West and South East, and should have the sites up and running "within months" according to NHS England.

A further 16 locations in the country will then be 'fast followers' and have centres in place by April 2022.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The pregnancy and the birth of a new child are a special time for families but if things go wrong it can have a huge impact on women, their partners and even other children.

“That is why the NHS is developing maternal mental health services to help them get back on track as part of our Long Term Plan

The hubs will support new mothers. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA

The hubs will support new mothers. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA

“NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with more than 393,000 patients requiring hospital treatment for Covid-19 but we have also kept mental health services running and I am delighted that, we are now expanding help for new, expectant and bereaved mums despite the continuing pandemic.”

As well as offering psychological therapies for new and expectant mums the clinics will also provide training for maternity staff and midwives.

The 26 initial sites will develop and test the new facilities, with the aim of having one in every area by April 2024, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to increase access to psychological support for women before, during and after pregnancy.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director, said: “Every woman has a unique experience with pregnancy and motherhood and some will need extra support to cope with mental health issues that can range from anxiety to severe depression so I am delighted that mothers across all areas of the country will be able to access this help if they need it.

Mental health support will be provided. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Mental health support will be provided. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

“The NHS is here for everyone who needs help and the expansion of specialist care through the roll out of these maternal mental health services will strengthen the services already in place, enabling us to improve the quality of care and outcomes for many women.

“I would encourage any mum who needs this support to come forward safe in the knowledge that her mental health and well-being are of paramount importance and she should not feel ashamed of accessing the help she needs.”

It is estimated that it costs the NHS and social care sector £1.2 billion per year where women do not access high-quality perinatal mental health services.