Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Perinatal Mental Health Team

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Perinatal Mental Health Team

Welcome to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough perinatal mental health team.


Perinatal Mental Health Service

Team logo

The CPFT Perinatal Mental Health Team support mums and
mums-to-be who are experiencing, or are at an increased risk of experiencing, mental health challenges during the perinatal period, from conception, through pregnancy and up to 1 year post-birth.

Who is this service for?

Women across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with moderate to severe mental health conditions who are planning a pregnancy, currently pregnant, or have a child under 12 months.


Meet the Teams

Management Team

Dominic Melton Perinatal Service Manager

Julie Hayter Perinatal North Team Manager

Bethany Kathro Perinatal South Team Manager

Administration Team

Cheryl Quish Perinatal Deputy Admin Hub Manager

Beena Padmanabhan Perinatal Senior Admin – North

Kate Taylor Perinatal Admin – South

Lesley Ann Jarvis Perinatal Admin - North

Cheryl Bolster Perinatal Admin - North

Clinical Team 

Therapy Team

We have a team of therapists within the Perinatal Mental Health Team. This includes psychologists, family therapists and psychotherapists. We are all trained in different ways of delivering therapy; this means we can think with you about what you are finding difficult, and give some ideas as to what type of therapy might suit you. For example, it could be cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) would be helpful for supporting you with anxiety, depression, or OCD. It might be that therapy focused on you and your family is useful; how you communicate and understand one another. It might be that psychotherapy to explore how you relate to your baby and your feelings about parenthood would be most helpful. We will start with an initial meeting with you to help us understand how you are feeling, and what you would like to work on.

South (Cambridgeshire)

Dr Nikolett Kabacs Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Shimrit Ziv Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist

Rachel Clarke Lead Clinical Psychologist

Jo Peterkin Perinatal Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Tara Pepper Goldsmith Perinatal Parent-Infant Psychotherapist

Zoe Scott Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Harriet Rowe Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Helen Atkins  Perinatal Family Therapist

North (Peterborough)

Dr Rajasekaran Sankar Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist 

Fiona Ram Perinatal Principal Clinical Psychologist

Eleanor Gunn Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Jana Hanchard Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Lynne Milton  Perinatal Family Therapist


Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists (OT) within the Perinatal Team offering individual and group intervention work. We focus work on identity and role transitions during the perinatal period, routine and balance, advice around co-occupations -this may include play, feeding and sleeping, sensory needs assessments, community integration and education for both the individual and their significant others. You may be allocated an OT to work with you during your time with the team or can be referred for 1:1 or group support by your lead professional. 

South (Cambridgeshire)

Emily Scott Perinatal Specialist Occupational Therapist

Sophie Simmons  Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner & Occupational Therapist

North (Peterborough)

Sarah Morrison Perinatal Occupational Therapist

Sara Teesdale Perinatal Occupation Therapist









Emily Scott Perinatal Specialist Occupational Therapist

Sarah Ennis Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist

Lucy Nower Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist

Courtney Bowen Perinatal Community Perinatal Psychiatry Nurse

Gabriella Digpal Race Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner

Sophie Simmons Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner

Cheryl Farrell Perinatal Community Social Worker

Carolyn Gidney-Kelly Perinatal Community Social Worker

Gemma Bullock Perinatal Nursery Nurse

Elizabeth Whitwood Perinatal Nursery Nurse

Sophie McKelvie Perinatal Assistant Psychologist

Eleanor Gardner Perinatal Peer Support Worker

Clinical Team North

Dr Rajasekaran Sankar Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist 

Fiona Ram Perinatal Principal Clinical Psychologist

Eleanor Gunn Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Jana Hanchard Perinatal Clinical Psychologist

Juli Broder Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist

Debs Murthwaite Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist

Laura Purran Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist

Sarah Morrison Perinatal Occupational Therapist

Sara Teesdale Perinatal Occupation Therapist

Emma Draper Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner

Beverley Ann Walker Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner

Victoria Anne Parker Perinatal Social Worker

Linda Donald-Osukah Perinatal Community Nurse

Emily Murdoch Perinatal Nursery Nurse

Sadie Burton Perinatal Nursery Nurse

Tracey Anne Wales Perinatal Nursery Nurse

Clare Cornforth Perinatal STR Worker

Lucy Johnson Perinatal Peer Support Worker

Sarah Smith Perinatal Peer Support Worker

Initial Assessment

What is an 'Initial Assessment'?

Your GP, health visitor, midwife or other health professional, has put you forwards to our team to help find you the extra support you might need for you, your baby, and your family.

You will be given an appointment for an ‘Initial Assessment’ with one of our Care-Co-ordinators where you will be asked about your current wellbeing, your past and present Mental Health Challenges, your family history if known and questions about your other children (if you have any).

Why do we have an 'Initial assessment'?

An initial assessment will be carried out as your first appointment with us. This is used to build a picture of you, your background, experiences, and current circumstances to help the team to decide whether you meet the criteria for our service. *

*Where a patient does not meet the criteria for this specific service, they will be signposted and directed to the service or services to meet their needs.

Question Examples:

  • Your family and social history
  • Your medical history
  • What has been happening for someone to be concerned.
  • What are you expecting from our service?


Appointments are offerred in person at the City Care Centre or Union House, in person in your own home and remotely via the NHS Attend Anywhere service. The team will liaise with you to ensure the location of your appointment suits your requirements.


What if I cannot attend an appointment?

If you have any additional requirements or need to change your appointment date, time or place, please contact our Admin team via email or phone and we can arrange an appointment to suit your needs.

Groups, Sessions and Interventions

In the Perinatal Team we offer a variety of groups that are led by different practitioners. Access to the individual groups is dependent on the individual care plans.

Group availability can change through altering circumstances within teams. However, if a care-coordinator/allocated worker feels that there is a group that is suitable for your care-package, they will inform you of this and make a referral on your behalf to the relevant practitioner.


Therapy Led Groups:

COS (Circle of Security): 

The Circle of Security is a visual map of attachment. "Intimate attachments to other human beings are the hub around which a person's life revolves, not only as an infant or a toddler or a schoolchild but throughout adolescence and years of maturity as well, and on into old age. From these intimate attachments a person draws strength and enjoyment of life and, through what they contribute, gives strength and enjoyment to others." - John Bowlby

This is an early intervention program for parents based on attachment theory, which supports the parent-infant relationship.  It is a parenting program that we feel would benefit women who have challenges with mentalising (making sense of their child’s emotional/mental state), perhaps who have had poor model's of parenting (from personal childhood experiences), and are motivated to explore how they can promote secure attachment and positive relationships with their child. It’s a non-judgmental, ‘good enough’ model, which stresses that it’s never too late, using a structure involving simple diagrams which illustrate core ideas in a relatable way.  The facilitators base the sessions on a programme which includes a wealth of video clips, reflective discussions and opportunities for compassion between shared experiences of parenting. This is a face-to-face run group.


CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy):

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) was developed in response to growing awareness of the links between self-judgment, shame, and self-criticism and emotional distress (e.g. anxiety, anger, sadness).  It aims to help people nurture a kinder and more accepting inner dialogue, something we all need to support us through hard times and to face the things in our lives that are difficult.     

Our perinatal CFT group has been specifically designed to support women within the perinatal period, either within pregnancy or up to 12 months after giving birth.  It recognises that having a baby can be an especially difficult time – one where we need as much compassion as possible!  We see this is a unique opportunity to take part in a supportive group therapy process, alongside others experiencing the transition to motherhood.   The group runs for 8 weeks. This is a face-to-face run group.


Support and Information Group for partners, Dad’s, Extended Family and Family by Choice: 

This is a group which is currently held online, fortnightly, on a Wednesday for dad’s, partners, extended family and family by choice of people who are open to Perinatal Services. The group was set up in recognition that ‘dad’s get sad too’ and that supporting those closest to the Mother and baby will improve outcomes for everyone. The group has an informal structure with members sharing stories and giving support to others about mental health, their experience of the perinatal period and access to services.  You are welcome to come and initially just listen if you are unsure if the group is for you. Members report feeling less alone with the problems they are facing, and they report finding ideas about how to move forward shared in the group helpful. If you have a significant other who is open to Perinatal Services, you would be welcome to attend the group. Pleases talk to a member of the Perinatal team for more details.


OT Led Groups:

Ante-natal Group:

The antenatal group is run online by Occupational Therapists over 4 sessions. The group aims to offer a safe space for peer and perinatal support. Topics discussed include; how to take care of your physical and mental health during pregnancy and during the postnatal period including 4th trimester principles, preparing for the transition into parenthood including what does my baby need in utero and beyond, and what to expect during birth and beyond. This group includes a session run by Nursery Nurses to offer practical information and support.


Post-natal Group:

The Occupational Therapists run a 6-part weekly postnatal group which includes focus on identity changes in parenthood, supporting balance and capacity, child development and a creative activity in the final session.  The groups run to support individuals who may struggle with attending groups to help them feel supported in a non-judgmental and relaxed environment. This is a face-to-face run group.



Peer Support and Nursery Nurse Led Groups:

Walking Group:

The Walking group takes place during the warmer months of the year, the group is held in 6 weekly blocks at different locations. This group is peer-led and offers social connection and peer support. Being outside in the fresh open air participating in gentle excercise through walking supports wellbeing. It supports small acheivable goals of getting out of the house and participating in non-structured, purposeful activity. Babies experience sensory differences and learn to explore whilst bonding with parents. This is a face-toface run group.


Stay and Play Groups:

This is a peer-led, informal style stay and play group. This group is run in 6-weekly blocks at different Child and Family Centre locations, this group replaces the Walking Group during the winter months. The group offers social connection for women under the PMHT, which supports wellbeing. The group seeks to support women's motivation for partaking in purposeful activity. We offer the group as informal and allow participants to run the sessions as they wish, we can offer different activities based on participants wishes. We offer hot and cold drinks and a safe space to support one another whilst babies play and explore and build on their own social connections. This is a face-to-face run group.

*You may also see our Nursery Nurses and Peer Support workers co-facilitating other groups.

Support and Information for Partners and Carers

Becoming a parent can be an overwhelming time, whether it is your first child or not. It is important to know that looking after your own mental health is equally as important as getting support for your partner.

Your primary focus is likely to be on your partner and the baby, and if their mental health is suffering, it can be difficult to know how to help and support them during this time.  They may find it difficult to seek support on their own. A key step you can take is to listen to them even if you don’t understand and encourage and support them in contacting their midwife, health visitor or GP, who can then refer them to the Perinatal Mental Health Team if required.


Dad’s/Partners Mental Health 

Research has shown that up to 10% of new dads can experience mental health conditions. You may experience a mixture of emotions such as having low moods, sudden change in your moods, feeling irritated or angry, having intrusive thoughts, feeling indifferent to the baby, lacking motivation, avoiding baby and your partner or even having the feeling of not being good enough.

Up to 50% of new dads, where their partners are suffering from post-natal depression, are also likely to be affected by post-natal depression. Taking the first step in talking about how you are feeling is the start of any road to recovery. We do not provided one-one therapy for Dads and Partners, but do encourage their involvement in the friends and family group interventions that we offer if their partner is open to the service. We can signpost to teams and services who do provide direct support to Dads or Partners facing challenges.

Information for Dad’s and Partners 

If your partner is under the care of the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service and you would like more information on how you can provide support to them, the Perinatal Service provides a Partners, Dad’s, Extended Family and Family by Choice group. This group has been developed by specialist Family Therapists.  It provides information and support to anyone with a relative open to the service and gives the opportunity to ask questions and discuss relevant issues.

Support for You 

This link will re-direct you to an online Padlet that offers information on the different support partners can acess: 

Partner support network (

Click here for the Perinatal positivity Website  - Perinatal Positivity uses the real voices and experiences of women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Helpful Resources

Click here for the Perinatal positivity Website  - Perinatal Positivity uses the real voices and experiences of women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.


How Are You Cambridgeshire and Peterborough | H.A.Y. Home ( - This site offers information and support across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. How Are You (H.A.Y.) is a community engagement team working within Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust who think creatively about solutions to mental health need and connect community assets to clinical care. The team manage this set of local websites which bring together everything in the local community that is good for wellbeing.


Mother's Wellbeing:

Wellbeing padlet - Tools to Support Mothers and Mother-to-be.


Patient Experience - Ellie and Emma hope by sharing what happened to them other women will also seek help from CPFT’s Perinatal Mental Health Team. 

The below films can also be viewed on the CPFT’s You Tube channel:

Being referred
Support and interventions
Video interactive guidance
Advice for others

Her story
Initial care and assessment
What is a care cordinator?
Peer support
Advice for others


Support and Information for Partners and carers:

Partner support network ( - Tools to support Partners and carers.


Follow or download

Wellbeing for Mums: An app to provide bite-sized calm and well-being

Number one social app for Mums

Free multi-award winning interactive pregnancy and parenting guide


PND and Me. An online blog set up by a woman with personal experience of postnatal depression. Also on Twitter @PndandMe


Feedback and Reviews

Students and Research


We do, on occasion, have students/trainees who are wanting to learn more about our service, and sometimes a particular specialty, shadowing our Nurses, Psychologists and other members of our team.

You will be asked before your assessment and/or appointments if you agree to them being present.

We will not make you feel pressured into accepting our students into your space . If you do not feel comfortable, please let us know - they will understand.

If you have any questions about students being present such as:

"What are they looking at gaining from being in my appointment?"

"I am not sure, what will they do?"

"Will it still be confidential?"

"I am not sure about having a male/female sitting in with me."

Please just ask your Care Co-ordinator or admin staff any questions you might have.



As part of the NHS, we often have research and clinical trials on offer.

If you are asked by a professional to take part in a research project, you will be given as much information as possible regarding the project.

You do not have to accept or you can ask for more details before you make your decision.

"Every year we run studies with thousands of participants to learn more about conditions and find new therapies and treatments that work for different people. Our research translates the latest scientific discoveries and evidence into NHS care at CPFT."

For more information about Research in CPFT Research | CPFT NHS Trust

Perinatal Partners and Multi-Agency Working

We work in collaboration with Midwives, Health Visitors and other professionals and services to ensure you receive the right treatment and are given the opportunity to fully utilise services and support.



We work in close accordance with midwives, particularly when women are 4 weeks ante/post-natal. Midwives support us with updates about labours, hospital stays and appointments. We can best support patients to have good birth experiences by liaising with midwives to ensure they are aware of any challenges patients may face. We work closely with midwives to support pre-birth planning to ensure the best possible experience is had in the labour ward.

What can midwives offer?:

Antenatal Care

  • Ultrasound scans

  • Consultant-led appointments

  • Community midwife appointments

  • Support with birth plannning

  • Antenatal classes

Labour and Delivery

  • Induction of labour

  • Pain relief

  • Advice and support

Postnatal Care

  • Support with caring for your baby

  • Infant feeding support

  • Newborn hearing screening

  • Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE)

  • Birth reflections/Birth afterthoughts classes and support


Please follow the below links for further information about what the midwifery team can offer:



Health Visitors

Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives with an additional specialist Community Public Health Nursing qualification. We liaise with Health Visitors weekly through multi-discipliniary working.

Health Visitors work as part of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme team to support you in your parenting journey, offering advice on a range of issues including infant feeding, sleep, child development and minor illnesses.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme - Health Visiting and School Nursing Service (


Mother and Baby Units (MBUs)

If we are unable to treat a perinatal-related mental health challenge at home, you may be offered a place at a mother and baby unit (MBU). MBUs are designed to keep mothers and babies together. Beds can be offered to women from 32 weeks pregnant. Your nearest MBU is Kingfisher in Norwich. If there are no beds at the nearest unit, you may be offerred a space at a unit further affield, however, every effort will be made to get a space at your closest unit if required. The MBU also offers an outreach service that can support you with any questions you may have when considering an MBU admission. The outreach team also offer ongoing support post-admission toan MBU.

Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit information leaflet | Norfolk and Suffolk NHS (


Other Services:

Family Hubs

Family Hubs - Peterborough City Council

Family Hubs - Cambridgeshire County Council

Talking Therapies

NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Talking Therapies | CPFT NHS Trust


Service detail | CPFT NHS Trust


About the Partnership Board | Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Partnership Board (

Accessibility and Adjustments

As a service, we are committed to making reasonable adjustments to support all patients in our care. Please speak to the medical professional referring you to the service if you have any accessibility requirements at the point of referral. Some examples of the adjustments we can make are as follows:

Appointment location - We can offer appointments face-to-face at Union House/City Care Centre, in person at home and via Attend Anywhere, the online video conferencing platform. At booking, initial appointments will automatically be requested face-to-face either at Union House (Cambridge) or the City Care Centre (Peterborough.) This is due to the time that it take for practitioners to carry out an initial assessmens and the importance of dedicating sufficient time to ensure that the consultation can be completed. Should you have any accessibility requirements that make this a challenge, we can offer alternative means via Attend Anywhere or face-to-face at home. Unfortunately, due to service demands, we cannot offer all patients a home visit for their initial appointment.

Language Barriers - We are able to provide interpreters for EAL (English as an additional Language) patients. This service will either be provided face-to-face alongside the clinician or via a telephone conferencing service. We also have information available that has been translated into community languages.

Equality and Diversity - We have a dedicated EDI team within our service and make continuous efforts to ensure that our service is accessible to all families, regardless of their background and experience. We understand that there are many potential barriers to accessing the service. We make reasonable adjustments to meet individuals' requirements wherever possible. If you or somebody you know needs support from the service and has additional requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss any potential barriers to seeking support.

Useful links:

Union House | AccessAble

City Care Centre - Psychological Wellbeing Service (PWS) Outpatients | AccessAble

Home Page - Raham Project

Supporting Parents (

The Lantern Initiative

One Voice 4 Travellers – One Voice 4 Travellers

Information for Professionals


Parents and parents-to-be should contact their GPs in the first instance. For urgent referrals for women experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the First Response Service on the NHS 111 helpline and select option 2.

GPs can refer via the Primary Care Mental Health Service.


We take direct referrals from Midwives and Health Visitors.

Please download the referral form below and, once completed, return to:

PMHT-Referral-Form.docx (


If you are unsure about making a referral or are questionning whether we are the right team for your patient, we can provide support via our admin team.

Please call 0800 952 0060 and leave a phone number or email address. A duty worker will contact you between 9-5 Monday-Friday



As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust