Information for the public

Recognising mental health problems

Recognising mental health problems

Healthcare professionals (such as health visitors, midwives and GPs) who see you when you are pregnant and in the year after birth should take the time to talk with you about how you are feeling. They should realise that you may be worried about talking about any problems and they should be understanding.

  • They should talk with you and may ask you a few questions to check that you aren't depressed or unusually anxious.

  • They may offer to refer you to your GP or to a specialist.


The first time you see a healthcare professional (a GP, midwife or health visitor) when you are pregnant and after you have had your baby, they should ask whether you've had any severe mental illness (for example, psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder). If you have a severe mental illness, or your GP, midwife or health visitor thinks you might have one, they should refer you to a specialist service. This is to make sure that you can get the best help quickly if you become unwell.

Your GP, midwife or health visitor should also ask:

  • whether you've been treated by specialist mental health services in the past (including staying in hospital for treatment), or

  • whether any close relatives (your mother or sister) have had a severe mental illness (for example, psychosis) around the time of giving birth.

These things might mean that you have a higher risk of developing a mental health problem (such as psychosis in the first few weeks after giving birth), so you should have checkā€‘ups more often when you are pregnant and in the first few weeks after giving birth.

  • Information Standard