Involving and supporting partners and other family members in specialist perinatal mental health services: good practice guide

This guide, about involving and supporting partners and significant others, is for commissioners and those working in specialist perinatal mental health services.

It describes how to provide:

  • women and their families with a positive experience of care, with services joined up around them
  • care that involves and supports partners and families in ways that can improve outcomes for all family members.

You can read this guide by clicking on the links in the contents table.

A PDF version of this guide is also available.

We have published a video animation to accompany this guide.

Contents table


  • What this guide covers
  • Why this guide is needed
  • The national context

Overview of underpinning principles and key ideas

Underpinning principles

  • Principle 1: ‘Think Family’
  • Principle 2: ‘The Perinatal Frame of Mind’
  • Principle 3: ‘Stay Curious’ – inclusivity

Idea #1 Mapping the family and support network

  • Asking about domestic violence and abuse (DVA)
  • Confidentiality and consent to inform and involve others

Idea #2 Involving partners and other family members in the mother’s care

Idea #3 Providing information

Idea #4 Partners’ and other family members’ own mental health needs

  • Stigma and stereotypes in men’s mental health
  • Asking about mental health, validating distress and encouraging self-care
  • Signposting partners and fathers

Idea #5 Relationship with the mother

Idea #6 Needs as carers

  • The Triangle of Care

Idea #7 Relationship with the baby

Idea #8 Other children in the family

Idea #9 Family-focused environments

Idea #10 Partnership working and transitions

Building the evidence: Future steps

How this guide was developed

About the authors