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Introduction to Perinatal Mental Illness, Risk, Care and Treatment


Course overview

This 20 hour course will give you an accessible introduction to various types of perinatal mental illness and the significant effect these can have on women, their infants, partners and families. You will learn about a range of factors that can contribute to mental health problems in pregnancy and after birth, as well as the risks that can be associated with perinatal mental illness. The course also provides information about care and treatment for women and families and the importance of professionals working in partnership. The women, partner and infant’s perspectives are considered throughout the course.

You will be invited to reflect on your experience of caring for women with mental health problems during pregnancy and the postnatal period, from whichever setting you work within, and integrating the learning into your clinical practice will hopefully enhance the care you provide for women and families.

The course includes interactive learning, video material, peer discussion and reflection. You can complete the course at your own pace. In week 4 there is a live webinar with a clinical expert and this will include an invaluable opportunity for you to ask questions about any aspect of the course.


Course aims

This course will introduce you to key aspects of perinatal mental health including:

  • The importance of understanding each woman’s individual context and history
  • Why identifying and treating perinatal mental health problems is so important for women, infants and families
  • Perinatal mental disorders, their presentation and the effect they can have on women, infants, partners and families
  • Risk in the perinatal period
  • Partnership working and understanding professionals and services involved across the care pathway.
  • Interventions for women and families.

Course topics

  • Factors from the woman’s history and current context which can affect her experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting and her risk of developing perinatal mental health problems
  • The woman, partner and infant’s experience during the perinatal period
  • Perinatal mental disorders including perinatal depression, perinatal OCD, postpartum psychosis and post traumatic stress disorder (including birth trauma)
  • Risk including suicide, domestic abuse and risk to the infant and other children
  • Care and treatment including:
    • Screening and identifying women who have, or who are at risk of developing, perinatal mental illness
    • Psychological interventions for the mother and for the mother-infant relationship
    • An introduction to the use of medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding
    • Multi-agency partnership working.

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this course who has a keen interest in the subject area.

In particular, the course is for you if you are a:

  1. Mental health practitioner in non-specialist services, such as Adult and CAMHS, and are keen to develop your knowledge and skills in relation to the care of women in the perinatal period.
  2. Non-mental health professional who cares for women during the pregnancy and the postnatal period and you are keen to develop your knowledge and skills in perinatal mental health in order to improve the care you provide. You may be working as a:
  • Midwife
  • Obstetrician
  • Health Visitor or Health Visitor Assistant
  • Social carer or Social worker
  • Children’s centre and Early Years Practitioner
  • Doula
  • Maternity support worker.

Course requirements/assessment

There are no specific requirements for the course, and there’s no assumption you’ll have prior knowledge in mental health.

There’s a multiple choice question assessment at the end of the course.


Course Timings

This course runs once per month, and you can pick your preferred start date at the beginning of the registration process. You’ll have access to the course and its materials for a total of eight weeks after you’ve registered and paid.

The course delivers 20 hours of learning, the majority of which you can undertake at a time and pace that suits you. In the third or fourth week of your course, you will also be invited to join a live group webinar with one of our clinical experts, conducted via Zoom.

Live webinar dates and times can be found below:

Course Start Date Live Webinar Date
04 January 2021 28 January 2021 at 4pm UK time
01 February 2021 25 February 2021 at 4pm UK time
01 March 2021 25 March 2021 at 4pm UK time
29 March 2021 21 April 2021 at 4pm UK time
26 April 2021 20 May 2021 at 4pm UK time
24 May 2021 17 June 2021 at 4pm UK time
21 June 2021 15 July 2021 at 4pm UK time (TBC)
19 July 2021 12 August 2021 at 4pm UK time (TBC)

Course facilitators

Dr Lucinda Green

Dr Lucinda Green

Dr Lucinda Green is a visiting lecturer and member of the perinatal faculty at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She has been a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist since 2002 and she has a passionate commitment to ensuring that women have high quality mental health care before, during and after pregnancy. She developed and led…

Forthcoming course dates

Our Short courses run monthly. You can book a place on the next available course or reserve your place on a future course.

Next start date



Great content and very well delivered. This course provides an excellent initial introduction to a wide range of mental health difficulties women can face during the perinatal period. I particularly enjoyed the holistic approach the course takes to exploring women's mental health and how this impacts her life and those around her.
Short Course Student
This course was an excellent introduction to perinatal depression. The presentation was outstanding, the structure of the course was designed to keep the student well engaged and motivated. The interviews with the professionals involved with women's care helped clarify and deepen our understanding. I have really learnt a lot - thank you.
Short Course Student
This course enabled me to develop my understanding and interest in a highly complex area. The learning material was well presented and easy to navigate at my own speed. A really enjoyable introduction to perinatal mental health.
Short Course Student
I found this course well structured, interesting and informative and incorporated a range of learning tools.
Short Course Student
The course was extremely comprehensive and was structured in a way that really allowed for reinforcement of learning through revisiting of concepts and material. The combination of different media, as in written material which was very well-referenced; videos; the containment of appearances by Lucinda Green; written discussion around questions and Live Interaction made it an all-round learning opportunity and a very nourishing experience. Thank you. It was a very valuable opportunity.
Short Course Student
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