Charities are to receive up to £1 million a year to help them improve the mental wellbeing of pregnant women, new mums and their families.
The Scottish Government has launched The Perinatal And Infant Mental Health Fund, which will be used to help third sector organisations deliver vital services.
This includes charities which support vulnerable women who would otherwise experience birth without a partner, and those which offer counselling to those experiencing depression and anxiety after becoming a new parent.
Up to £1m will be made available to the fund each year, with the money distributed on the government’s behalf by national charity Inspiring Scotland.
The East Highland and Caithness chapters of Home-Start and The Church Of Scotland’s CrossReach charity have been named among its first beneficiaries.
Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey attended a virtual meeting with Amma Birth Companions to announce the funding.
She said: “We want all mothers and their families to have access to good mental health care throughout pregnancy and during the postnatal period.
“The third sector provides an invaluable source of support and with the impacts of Covid-19, their work is more important now than ever.
“The fund will allow one-to-one support for organisations to help provide the care that women and their families need across Scotland.”
She added: “In our 2019-20 Programme for Government, we committed to support the third sector to deliver counselling and befriending services for women who might benefit from additional support in their community.
“Our delivery plan will help us continue to improve perinatal and infant mental health services, backed by £50m and guided by the voices of women with lived experience.”
Celia Tennant, chief executive at Inspiring Scotland, said she was “delighted” to be supporting the fund.
She added: “The commitment from Scottish Government to this vital area has been matched by the high number and calibre of proposals we received for funding.
“We are looking forward to working alongside these essential services over the next three years to support more families during the crucial perinatal period.”
Other funding recipients include Barnardo’s, Action For Children, Aberlour, Quarriers and Maternal Mental Health Scotland.