Perinatal Mental Health

COVID-19 pandemic service update: urgent/high priority appointments only. Using telephone and internet where possible. Information for visitors to inpatient wards/units.

This service provides care and support for women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth.

We offer specialist perinatal mental health assessments, which focuses on both the needs of mother and infant, and management/treatment for women suffering severe mental illness such as depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Affective Disorder and post-partum psychosis. We can also help women with a history of severe mental illness who are planning a pregnancy, or who have become pregnant and are at high risk of relapse during pregnancy or the postnatal year.

Care is provided across Dorset to women in their own homes wherever possible, enabling them to maintain their roles as mothers while their mental illness is safely treated. When required, we also have a dedicated mother and baby inpatient unit at Florence House, in Bournemouth, which offers 24-hour specialist support.

We have an experienced team of specialist and nursery nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists and a parent-infant psychotherapist. They offer:

  • psychiatric assessment and medication, if needed
  • advice on the risks and benefits of using psychotropic medication during pregnancy and when breastfeeding
  • pre-conception advice
  • support with the developing the mother and baby relationship
  • psychological therapies including Family Work, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Relapse-Prevention Work
  • occupational therapies for mother and baby, focusing on mother-infant activities and help with routine and role adjustment which may include shopping, cooking, diet and exercise
  • parenting skills support and training.

If you are struggling with perinatal mental health issues, we will work closely with social care workers, health visitors, maternity departments and other healthcare providers to carry out a full mental health assessment. And we will develop a treatment plan in partnership with you, tailored to your own individual needs. Our aim is to provide the right care to help you recover, encouraging family involvement and strengthening your bond with your child.


If you feel that you, or someone you know, might benefit from this kind of support, please talk to your GP, health visitor or other healthcare professional, who can then make a referral to the perinatal service.

We welcome referrals from healthcare professionals such as GPs, CMHTs, midwives, health visitors, and maternity departments. However, any referrals for potential admission to the Florence House inpatient unit should be discussed with the team first.

Out of hours referrals requiring an emergency response will be undertaken by the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Service.


Understanding the impact that perinatal mental health illness has on the mother's family will be vital to her recovery. We can provide support to partners, relatives and close friends in line with her treatment plan. A carers support group also runs as part of the weekly therapeutic programme at our Florence House inpatient unit, and we are planning to deliver similar sessions out in the community.

Mother and baby inpatient services

We are looking to develop a new, purpose-built, extended unit to support mothers and their babies on the St Anns Hospital site. Find out more about our vision for perinatal inpatient services.

Questionnaire for parents

This questionnaire is a research study exploring understanding and attitudes towards perinatal mental illnesses (PMI) such as postnatal depression and anxiety. You don’t have to have experienced PMI to take part in this study. More information and complete the study.

PMI can affect both men and women and sometimes these needs aren’t accurately understood or recognised. Participation is entirely voluntary. You can stop the survey at any time without giving a reason. Completing the entire survey will take approximately 15 minutes and it is anonymous.

COVID-19 resources


Perinatal In-Patient Mother's Ward (Bournemouth - Alumhurst Road)

01202 584329 (community team) 01202 584320 (inpatient team)
49 Alumhurst Road,
Florence House - Mother and Baby Unit,

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WiFi: Yes

Parking: Limited

Disabled Access: Yes

Inpatient team

Opening times: Monday to Friday (24h) – inc Bank holidays and weekends

Visiting times:
Monday to Friday from 16.00 to 18.00 and 19:00 to 20:00
Bank holidays and weekends 14:00 to 18:00 and 19:00 to 20:00 (visiting times are flexible to meet the needs of family and friends and can be negotiated to fit in with their needs).

Community team

Opening times: Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 16.30 – No bank holidays and weekends

Mental Health and learning disabilities