Parent and baby

Introduction to perinatal mental illness, risk, care and treatment (DAB002)

Deepen your understanding of perinatal mental health and its impact to enhance the care you provide

This 20-hour, online course provides an accessible introduction to various types of perinatal mental illness. Through interactive content and group discussion, you will explore the significant effect these have on women, birthing people, their infants and families and receive a CPD certificate upon completion.

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, and the importance of professionals working in partnership.

You will be invited to reflect on your own experience of caring for women and birthing people with mental health problems during pregnancy and the postnatal period, and acquire practical knowledge and skills which can be integrated into your clinical practice – directly enhancing the care you provide.

“Women and birthing people see a wide range of professionals when planning a pregnancy, pregnant and after birth,” says course lead, Dr Lucinda Green. “These include midwives, health visitors, GPs, social workers, psychologists and many more. It is vital that these professionals understand the impact of perinatal mental illness, and the associated risks, for women, birthing people and families.”

“The Digital Academy’s perinatal mental health courses are designed to provide an introduction to this important subject in a way that allows professionals to participate flexibly to fit in with their busy working lives. We hope that the combination of interactive learning, videos, reflection, peer discussion and live webinar will enable learning to be embedded into clinical practice to improve care for women, birthing people and families.”

Aims and learning objectives

This CPD certified course will allow you to:

  • appreciate the importance of understanding each woman and birthing person’s individual context and history, as well as considering the perspectives of the woman, infant and partner
  • study a range of perinatal mental disorders, including their presentation and the effect they can have on women, birthing people, infants and families
  • build an awareness of risk in the perinatal period including risk of suicide, risk of domestic abuse, and risk to the infant
  • explore interventions available for women, birthing people and families, including psychological interventions, the use of medication and partnership-working
  • identify the professionals and services involved in supporting women, birthing people, their infants and families across the care pathway

You will learn by:

  • discovering key concepts through interactive lecture content and videos
  • deepening your understanding via regular opportunities for reflection
  • sharing ideas, questions and experiences in discussion boards
  • exploring key ideas with a clinician-tutor in a live group webinar
  • testing your knowledge with a multiple choice quiz, which will unlock access to your CPD certificate upon completion

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone on this course who has a keen interest in the subject area. In particular, the course is for you if you are a:

  • mental health practitioner in non-specialist services, such as adult mental health and CAMHS, and are keen to develop your knowledge and skills in relation to the care of women and birthing people in the perinatal period
  • non-mental health professional who cares for women and birthing people 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 also be working as a:

  • midwife or maternity support worker
  • obstetrician
  • doula
  • health visitor or health visitor assistant
  • social worker or other practitioner within social care
  • children’s centre or early years practitioner
  • nursery nurse
  • third sector volunteer or practitioner
  • peer support worker

Course details

This online-only course runs once per month, and you can pick your preferred start date when booking your place. Access to the course and its materials is provided for one year from the course start date.

The course delivers 20 hours of learning with a suggested four-week structure, although the majority can be undertaken at a time and pace that suits you.

You will be invited to join a one-hour live group webinar with one of our clinical experts, conducted via Zoom. Full webinar details, including Zoom links, will be provided when the course opens, with a choice of dates to suit your schedule.

Upcoming dates for courses and live webinars are:

Course start dates
4 December 2023
5 February 2024
4 March 2024
8 April 2024
6 May 2024
3 June 2024
1 July 2024
Live webinar dates (one hour duration)
Tuesday 26 September 2023, 4pm BST
Thursday 14 December 2023, 4pm GMT
Further dates tbc

Please note that seminar times are subject to change. If you have any questions or queries, please contact

This online course covers the following areas:

  • factors from a woman or birthing person’s history and current context which can affect their experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting and her risk of developing perinatal mental health problems
  • the woman’s, birthing person’s, partner’s and infant’s experiences and perspectives during the perinatal period
  • perinatal mental disorders including perinatal depression, perinatal OCD, postpartum psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • risks associated with perinatal mental illness, including risk of suicide, of domestic abuse and to the infant and other children
  • care and treatment including:
    • screening and identifying women and birthing people 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

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, which will unlock a Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust CPD certificate upon completion.


“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this course which I found very interesting, formative and a clear and honest insight into perinatal mental health, I found the materials, webinars and video from families and professionals beneficial for developing my professional practice.”

Why study with us?

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing for over 100 years. We bring our extensive experience to this course as the only NHS Trust to be registered as a Higher Education Provider by The Office for Students. This means your learning will be grounded in practice and real life application. With our Digital Academy, we have made our training accessible and available to everyone to explore in your own time, at your own pace.

Course facilitators


This course has been independently evaluated for Continuing Professional Development purposes by the CPD Certification Service. This means that the learning activity meets global CPD standards and benchmarks, and the learning value has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality.

Forthcoming course dates

Our Digital Academy short courses run monthly. Choose your preferred start date from the list below and book your place today.

You will receive your login details by email the day after you’ve booked. Access begins on the course start date.

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