The Economic case for trauma informed bereavement counselling for parents who have experienced peri-natal loss

The Economic case for trauma informed bereavement counselling for parents who have experienced peri-natal loss

O’Shea, Nick (1), Burgess, Karen (2)

(1) Chief Economist, Centre for Mental Health, UK (2) CEO, Petals, UK.

This study examines a practitioner-led,1-1 tested and structured counselling response to the trauma of loss that is delivered in the UK by Petals. It examines the costs and outcomes of the service to determine the economic benefit of Petals’ counselling programme. It investigates how treating trauma, as well as grief, leads to improved outcomes for parents who have suffered loss, and the financial impact this has on the healthcare system.

The study uses a combination of survey data, economic analysis and financial modelling to determine the business case for government investment in a national counselling service for parents who experience loss.

The evaluation calculates that national provision of counselling to 4,822 mothers in the UK (number experiencing loss/year) is £3.17m pa. This would create a national safety-net of support to help parents at this difficult time. The evaluation concludes that investing in a nationwide service would result in a net saving to UK Government of £8.6m pa. Reasons for this are: (A) Counselling provision is relatively cheap: £69.70/session; (B) Costs of unresolved trauma are high in terms of healthcare and benefit payments; (C) Counselling is effective at reducing the effects of trauma.

Counselling is inexpensive, effective and reduces UK Government expenditure. A national scheme to help people who are faced with the tragedy of loss during pregnancy/ birth would benefit parents, families and Government. On average, £1 invested in Petals will return, net, £2.71. Petals is now working with The Centre to make the case to the UK Government for a national counselling service.

Ethics statement:
Evaluation of Petals uses anonymised data and recognised national cost information so an Ethics Panel is not required. Individual case-studies used are from participants who have granted written consent.

International Stillbirth Alliance, Annual Conference on Perinatal Mortality and Bereavement Care, Madrid, Spain. October 5-6th, 2019.

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