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By Your Side (Maternal Mental Health Service)


The loss of a baby is a devastating experience and one that can bring a range of thoughts, feelings and responses which can feel confusing, bewildering and isolating. By Your Side is a maternal mental health service provided by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with midwifery colleagues, which offers therapeutic care and grief therapy for people who were pregnant and have experienced a perinatal loss. Our team aims to help people with their loss, being by your side during a devastating time.

By Your Side is enhanced by midwifery expertise, further integrating joint working between mental health and maternity services, while also working alongside pre-existing mental health services, third sector organisations and specialist midwives across Essex.

Service Information

By Your Side works with people who were pregnant and are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties as a result of perinatal loss, including;

  • Miscarriage (including recurrent/multiple miscarriages)
  • Still birth
  • Termination
  • Neonatal death
Frequently asked questions

What is the benefit to patients?

This is the first NHS specialist, evidence based, psychological and therapeutic service for perinatal loss within Essex, which enhances support for women offered by third sector organisations and bereavement midwives.

EPUT’s existing perinatal mental health service in the community works with people who are antenatal or postnatal with a baby up to one year old. Prior to the launch, there was no therapeutic service for those who have experienced a moderate to severe mental health response to a perinatal loss. This service has been commissioned to bridge that gap.

It aims to enhance and promote trauma-informed care across departments by co-working and bringing specialist experience.

What constitutes a moderate to severe response?

Natural responses to trauma and loss can include grief, pain, sadness, loneliness, anger, guilt, helplessness, self-blaming, mood swings and low mood. However, if these symptoms persist or worsen and significantly impact; ability to function, day to day life, new parenting relationships and/or decisions around reproduction, pregnancy, and birth, you may require a higher level of support.

Where will the therapy be provided?

The service will offer a mix of video consultations, telephone appointments, face to face assessment and treatment in perinatal hubs and home visits, depending on your needs, as it is acknowledged that maternity and clinical spaces can be triggering if you have experienced a loss.

Does the service provide a crisis response?

The service will not provide a crisis response. If anyone you know is in crisis, call NHS 111 and select the option for mental health.

What support is provided to the wider family?

At this stage, By Your Side can only provide support to the person who was pregnant. If you are a partner or family member of the person who was pregnant, you can contact Therapy for You or we would encourage you to visit your GP.

There are also many charities you can speak to. If you are in crisis, please call NHS 111 and select the option for mental health.

What if a loss has not occurred, but someone who was pregnant or their partner is struggling emotionally?

If you are struggling with your mental health as a mother or birthing parent and have not suffered a perinatal loss, you can contact our colleagues within the specialist perinatal mental health service. Alternatively, if you have concerns regarding your bond with your baby, you can contact our colleagues from the Together with Baby service.

People who were pregnant and their loved ones affected by any mental difficulty not pertaining to loss can also access community perinatal mental health services, relevant charities or call NHS 111 for mental health crisis.

We are aware loss can be difficult to process, and so members of the lived experience community would like us to share this story, in the hope it can provide others some comfort like it brought them.


Referral Information

You can contact your GP, midwife, health visitor, social worker, care coordinator or mental health professional to request a referral to our service, we are unable to accept self-referrals.

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