Perinatal Mental Health - elearning for healthcare
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This programme is in partnership with...
  • Institute for Health Visiting
  • Department of Health
  • Royal College of General Pracitioners
  • Royal College of Occupational Therapists

About the Perinatal Mental Health programme

The Perinatal Mental Health programme has been designed to help educate and develop the workforce caring for people with perinatal mental health issues.

This programme currently provides courses across three key areas:

  • Perinatal Mental Health
  • Perinatal Mental Health for Health Visitors
  • Perinatal Mental Health for Occupational Therapists.

Perinatal Mental Health

This course is designed to provide high quality and evidence-based elearning resources in the field of perinatal mental health.

HEE has developed a set of four elearning sessions, each taking around 20-30 minutes to complete. The sessions assume no specific prior knowledge of perinatal mental healthcare and are designed to be accessed by any health care professional who has contact with people in the time when they’re considering pregnancy, right up until their child is around one year old.

All content is referenced, and the learner is signposted to additional detailed learning resources for more advanced learning. The content and structure of the sessions were formally agreed working with subject matters experts across the field.

The sessions commence with two introductory sessions, which provide a broad overview of the topic and essential learning points for all health professionals. The two subsequent sessions focus on different stages of a mother’s journey – the pregnancy, birth and the first year of a child’s life. The subsequent sessions contain more detailed advice, which may be of interest to particular professional groups, for example, obstetricians choosing to complete session four on labour and the immediate post-partum.

  • Introduction to Perinatal Mental Health 1
  • Introduction to Perinatal Mental Health 2
  • Perinatal Mental Health in the Antenatal Period
  • Perinatal Mental Health in the Postnatal Period

Perinatal Mental Health for Health Visitors

The Health Visitor Implementation Plan contains core aims to “improve opportunities to use the full range of health visitor skills and re-emphasise health visitors as key public health professionals” and to “ensure a strong focus on responding to differential needs and improving outcomes, and that systems promote effective join-up between services in ways that best meet local needs.”

Training health visitors to identify and treat postnatal depression, including making referrals to specialist counselling, is a key driver of these aims.

The two elearning modules developed by the Institute of Health Visiting, in partnership with HEE look at:

  • Perinatal Mental Health: Health Visitor Assessment
  • Perinatal Mental Health: Health Visitor Interventions

The resource is made up of expert peer reviewed content and videos, interactions and knowledge checks.


Perinatal Mental Health for Occupational Therapists

Training programme for occupational therapists working in perinatal mental health services.

This elearning course is for occupational therapists working in perinatal mental health services and those who are new to or wishing to work in this specialist area of practice. It has been developed by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in collaboration with Health Education England elearning for healthcare.

The course is part of a wider blended learning package for occupational therapists working in perinatal mental health and provides them with the information and skills they need to support women’s participation in activities that are important to them and their families, and to facilitate women’s recovery from perinatal mental health problems.

It is recommended that you access sessions 1, 2 and 3 on a laptop or desktop.

Each session includes information, case studies relating to the content of the session and a self-assessment to check participants’ knowledge and understanding. Links to additional information and resources are provided and participants are encouraged to create a ‘personal action plan’ detailing how they will continue their learning and develop their practice.

More information

The course content was written by a group of occupational therapy experts including clinicians, researchers and individuals with lived experience of perinatal mental health problems. Case studies are based on real life examples and include assessment/intervention plans written by experienced occupational therapists for participants to compare with their own. The course was peer reviewed by a wider group of occupational therapists and checked for quality and consistency by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ practice and professional development teams.

Perinatal Mental Health Competency Framework

HEE commissioned the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to develop a skills competency framework for all staff working to support mothers and families across the perinatal care pathway, from preconception to postnatal care.

The framework is designed to increase general awareness of perinatal mental health disorders and associated care skills, supporting advanced and specialist practice.  Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that deliver high quality care and enable the continuous improvement of services. The framework has been developed to standardise competencies for perinatal mental health practice across England. This will help to ensure the workforce is confident and suitably skilled to identify need and deliver care to women who have mental health problems during the perinatal period, thereby increasing access to appropriate evidence-based specialist treatment.

This framework lists several competencies over separate domains and is divided into categories for different types of healthcare worker; including those who have limited infrequent contact, to those who work in specialist perinatal services. Over time, this competency framework may be used for recruitment, training and development, and discussions about career progression.

A review has been recently undertaken (Feb 2020) around usage of this framework. Further improvements will be made in due course to improve access.

Project team for Perinatal Mental Health

  • Cheryll Adams

    Cheryll Adams

    Institute of Health Visiting
  • Dr Judy Shakespeare

    Dr Judy Shakespeare

    Module Editor, Health Education England
  • Jonathan Guy

    Jonathan Guy

    Project Manager, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Toni Turner

    Toni Turner

    Senior Teaching Fellow Kings College London
  • Sylvia Wooley

    Sylvia Woolley

    Professional Development Officer Perinatal and Infant Mental Health
  • elfh staff - Steve Hewitt

    Steve Hewitt

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Tracy Watkins

    Tracy Watkins

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare

Project team for Perinatal Mental Health for Occupational Therapists

  • Dr Sally Payne, Professional Adviser, Royal College of Occupational Therapists

    Professional Adviser, Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • Leanne Davies

    Specialist Occupational Therapist, Cheshire and Mersey Specialist Perinatal Service, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sarah Maris

    Sarah Maris-Shaw

    Occupational Therapist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Jo Maitland

    Jo Maitland

    Perinatal Mental Health Training and Service Development Lead & London Perinatal Mental Health Network Coordinator, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mandy Graham

    Mandy Graham

    Occupational Therapy Senior Lecturer / Admissions Tutor, Leeds Beckett University
  • Clare Hooper

    Clare Hooper

    Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Amy Doyle

    Amy Doyle

    Perinatal Occupational Therapist, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Rachael Coates

    Rachael Coates

    Specialist Perinatal Occupational Therapist, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Anne Segalini

    Anne Segalini

    Professional Lead Advisor in Occupational Therapy, UK Ministry of Defence
  • Ben Harris

    Ben Harris

    Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Clair Guy

    Clair Guy

    Project Manager, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Stephen Gibbons

    Stephen Gibbons

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Tracy Watkins

    Tracy Watkins

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Rashmi Chavda

    Rashmi Chavda

    Graphic Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • elfh-staff-Alex-Drinkall-learning-profile

    Alex Drinkall

    Stakeholder Manager, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Bev Taylor

    Bev Taylor

    Stakeholder and Engagement Manager, Royal College of Occupational Therapists

How to access

In order to access the Perinatal Mental Health programme, you will need an elfh account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

Register >

To view the Perinatal Mental Health programme, select the View button below. If you already have an account with elfh, you will also be able to login and enrol on the programme from the View button.

View >

NHS healthcare staff in England

The Perinatal Mental Health programme is also available to NHS healthcare staff via the Electronic Staff Record (ESR). Accessing this elearning via ESR means that your completions will transfer with you throughout your NHS career.

Further details are available here.

Not an NHS organisation?

If you are not an NHS health or care organisation and therefore do not qualify for free access elfh Hub, you may be able to access the service by creating an OpenAthens account.

To check whether or not you qualify for free access via OpenAthens, you can view the eligibility criteria and register on the ‘OpenAthens’ portal.

Registering large numbers of users

If you are a HR, IT or Practice Manager and would like to register and enrol large numbers of staff within your organisation for access onto the Perinatal Mental Health programme, please contact elfh directly.

Organisations wishing to use their own LMS

For HR departments wanting to know more about gaining access to courses using an existing Learning Management System please contact elfh directly to express interest.

More information

Please select the following link for more information on how to use the elfh Hub.

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