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expert reaction to death of mother, believed to have depression, and baby

The bodies of a mother and baby who went missing from hospital shortly after the baby’s birth have been found.


Prof. Ian Jones, Director National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University and Vice Chair Perinatal Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: 

“It is not possible to make any comments on this specific case as the details are not known. It is possible, however, to make some general comments about severe mental illness and childbirth.

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal death and demonstrates the very high stakes for women with a history of severe mental illness who can face very difficult decisions about taking medication when pregnant and breastfeeding. Although for many medications we still are not certain about the risks to the foetus of taking medication during pregnancy, we do know that women may be at very high risk of becoming unwell if they stop medication. It is vital that all women receive the help they need to make these difficult decisions from specialist perinatal mental health teams. Unfortunately, more than half of women in the UK do not have access to these teams and we must do more to end this postcode lottery.

“See the Maternal Mental Health Alliance ‘everyone’s business’ campaign for more details and for maps showing where services exist in the UK”


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

Prof Ian Jones: I am a Trustee for Action on Postpartum Psychosis and have recently sat on NICE guidelines for Perinatal Mental Health

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