A CAMPAIGN to improve the support given to new mums with mental health problems has won backing from Ilkley's MP John Grogan.

The Hidden Half initiative has been launched by the National Childbirth Trust, whose research has shown that half of new mothers with an emotional or mental health issue don't get it recognised by a health professional and so receive no treatment.

Campaigners are calling for improved six-week postnatal check-ups, so problems can be identified and appropriate treatment offered.

"The challenges of caring for a new baby are hard enough to tackle when you are emotionally strong but doing so when your emotional reserves are depleted is even harder," said Mr Grogan.

"If maternal mental health problems go unidentified and untreated, the issues that these women experience can escalate to severe mental illness and may – in a small number of cases – lead to suicide.

"Even in less-severe cases, maternal mental illness can have a significant impact on relationships of new mothers within and outside the family, as well as the extent to which they are able to bond with their baby – with potentially serious implications for their child later on."

An awareness-raising event is being held at Saltaire on Saturday, April 7. The NCT ( National Childbirth Trust ) Bradford Airdale branch will stage the event, at the Arris Canteen, on the ground floor of Salts Mill, from 11am to 1pm.

There will be a talk about the Hidden Half campaign at 11.30am. Representatives of Ilkley PANDAS – a support group for people suffering from prenatal, antenatal or postnatal illnesses –and the Cellar Trust will be present.

There will be a toy area, baby changing facilities, hot drinks, cake and free goody bags.

Admission is free.

Letters of support from Mr Grogan and Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, who is also backing the campaign, will be read out at the event.

There will be a talk about the Hidden Half campaign from KoHsin Illingworth, a campaign volunteer, at 11.30am.

She said: "I have suffered with post-natal depression since my baby was born, it is extremely challenging for me caring for a new baby. My mental health issues weren’t picked up by a healthcare professional. I have since received therapy and am fully supporting NCT’s Hidden Half campaign, to make sure new mothers like myself get the treatment when they need it."

NCT’s Bradford and Airedale’s branch coordinator Caroline Legg said: "Join us to learn about the NCT's campaign demanding better six-week checks for new mothers to help get postnatal mental health problems picked up sooner.

"NCT’s #HiddenHalf campaign aims to bring maternal mental illness out of hiding and is calling for improvements to the six-week postnatal check up to aid diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues in new mums."

Supporters are being urged to sign up to the Hidden Half campaign at www.nct.org.uk/hiddenhalf/MP