Perinatal mental health

Access Mental Health 

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is particularly difficult for people who are experiencing mental ill health and emotional distress. The situation is unprecedented and will impact the way that we run our Access Mental Health services.

To ensure the safety of our staff and the public, the Retreat drop-in services in Bournemouth and Dorchester are available for access to support virtually.  They are open everyday 12-4pm and 5-11.30pm. We are not yet able to welcome visitors so please don’t just pop in .

Community Front Rooms are available for access to support virtually. Thursday-Sunday from 3.15-10.45pm in Bridport, Wareham, Weymouth and Shaftsbury. We are not yet able to welcome visitors so don't just drop in. 

The 24/7 Connection phone line is open. If you require urgent mental health support call 0800 652 0190 or NHS 111 and you will be signposted to the right service for the support you need.

Give us a Shout: text 85258 is a free, confidential, anonymous text support service. You can text from wherever you are in the UK.If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, trained shout volunteers are available for you, day or night.

Steps to Wellbeing is a free, confidential NHS service for anyone aged 18+ who is registered at a GP surgery in Dorset.  They offers a wide range of different types of treatment for people experiencing problems with low mood/depression, anxiety or stress. To make a self referral click here 

For more general mental health guidance, visit our Access Mental Health section.

Other perinatal health services

If you are desperate to talk to someone, the Samaritans can help. It can offer emotional support and a listening ear 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call them on 116 123 (24 hour) or email (text message only. Message 07725909090)

This is a freephone number that can even be called from a mobile that has no credit. Your call will not appear on the phone bill. There are also local Samaritons brances across Dorset.

Call your GP or health professional

The first step to take to get help with your mental health (if you’re not in a crisis) is to call your GP or other allocated health professional (e.g. community psychiatric nurse (CPN) or community mental health team (CMHT), midwife or health visitor). You will be able to make an emergency appointment to see your doctor, or speak to them on the phone.

For out-of-office hours or if you are seeking urgent mental health support, call 111 and select ‘mental health’. If you live in Dorset you can contact the 24/7 Connection phoneline on 0800 652 0190.

Physical or medical help: if you or someone else is in serious risk of death, suicide or injury, call 999 and ask for the police and/or an ambulance.

Worried about someone else?

If you are having concerns that someone else is very distressed and might be considering suicide please encourage them to contact their GP and make an urgent appointment. Alternatively you may wish them to speak to the samaritons on 116 123.

If you are worried someone is about to hurt someone else please contact the police.

National support online and over the phone

Please note we do not check or monitor these services.

Please follow the links to the website first to check full services are offered.


A mental health charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experincing a mental health problem.

Anxiety UK

Provides information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including 1:1 therapy. The charity is run by people with lived experience of anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression.
Opening hours:9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. 10am to 8pm weekends – due to coronavirus.
Call: 03444 775 774, Text: 07537 416 905

NoPanic A totally voluntary charity, whose aims are to aid the relief and rehabilitation of those people suffering from panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, related anxiety disorders, including tranquilliser withdrawal, and to provide support to sufferers and their families.

Helpline: 0844 967 4848 Everyday 10am-10pm.

Crisis number 01952 680835 This is a recorded message available 24 hours.

LBGTQ+ information

Learning Disabilities Dorset

Learning disabilities mental health support- Steps to Wellbeing

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP)

APP is a national charity for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis.


Association of postnatal Illness 

Helpline: 10am – 2pm – 0207 386 0868


Birth trauma is an organisation that offers information, guidence and support to parents that have experienced birth trauma.

Best beginnings  

Free NHS-accredited Baby Buddy app offering evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting.

App users also have access to a confidential, text-based Crisis Messenger which provides 24/7 support for new and expectant parents who are feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed.

Black and Ethnic minorities mental health support- Rethink and Steps to Wellbeing 

Maternal OCD

Peer led support available, email to arrange.


Netmums offer peer support via their Maternal Mental Health Drop-In Clinic.

PANDAS A UK charity who provide support service for families and their networks who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression.

Helpline open 7 days a week – 0808 1961 776

Email support available –

Dads Matter
This is a free service that provides support for dads worried about or suffering from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Support for Fathers -DadPad-   

Support for males struggling with mental health - it takes balls to talk

Respect (Men’s advice line) 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9-5)


Provides expert, accredited advice and information to everyone affected by mental health problems. They give clear, relevant information on everything from treatment and care to benefits and employment rights.

Twins Trust

Twinline is Twins Trust’s listening service for parents of twins, triplets and more. All the calls are answered by volunteers who have multiples themselves.

Twinline is open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and from 7pm to 10pm. 0800 138 0509, alternatively email


Tommy’s has a team of in-house midwives who offer free support and information for women and their families at any stage of pregnancy and after the birth.

Helpline: Tommy’s helpline has been closed temporarily but their midwives are answering questions via email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


PTSD: A UK charity dedicated to provide support and information for anyone experiencing PTSD.

Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity. Helpline: 0808 801 0677 Email support:


A UK based charity offering mental health support to everyone with all types of mental health problems.

Opening Hours: 5pm to Midnight, daily
Call: 0800 58 58 58

Mind Infoline:
This phone line is a useful source of information for types of mental health problems, where to get help; medication and alternative treatments; and advocacy.
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).
Call: 0300 123 3393, Text: 86463.

Self Injury Support

Self-injury/self-harm support for women and girls – helpline, information and training. Telephone, email and text support, leaflets, publications and training.


SANE is a leading UK mental health charity improving quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness – including family friends and carers.
Opening hours: 4.30pm to 10.30pm, daily.
Call: 0300 304 700.


People that use services