MIDWIVES and psychotherapists at Salisbury District Hospital have developed a new screening programme for mums-to-be aimed at improving the detection of underlying anxiety and depression.

The programme is part of a local pilot study which has given the Salisbury midwives psychological training, improved assessment skills and a process for onward referral to the hospital’s clinical psychology department.

Sarah Pestell, counsellor and psychotherapist at Salisbury District Hospital said: “Around one in 10 women experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy and shortly after, so it’s important that midwives are able to differentiate between normal levels of worry and more serious underlying difficulties, which could have an impact on the woman and their baby.” “It’s essential that we are able to detect these problems early in the pregnancy and provide the appropriate support and treatment where necessary.”

The pilot screening programme has been published in the British Journal of Midwifery and the team is now talking to other hospitals about the project and how it could be used elsewhere.