On this page



Dr Jessica Heron - Chief Executive

Dr Jessica Heron is the Chief Executive of APP. Jess studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University before moving to Birmingham University to work on studies of the molecular genetics of bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis (PP). Jess’s PhD examined hypomania in postnatal women (‘the highs’), early signs of postpartum psychosis and the role of the oxytocin receptor gene. Jess did her Postdoctoral Training Fellowship in Primary Care and Public Health, working on studies of pathways to care for PP. She led the the Perinatal Research Programme at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust for four years, and worked on studies of the recovery process, partner experience, peer support, and models of perinatal mental health care. In 2012, she returned to Birmingham University to develop Action on Postpartum Psychosis.

Jess’s began managing the University of Birmingham Department of Psychiatry’s “Action on Puerperal Psychosis research panel” in 2007, and founded the charity, Action on Postpartum Psychosis, in 2010. APP has grown from two part time staff in 2011 to a team of 28 staff – 21 with personal experience – with national and international impact on PP care, understanding and services. Jess is a mum of two and lives in South Wales.


Kim Mullard - Director of Finance and Operations

Kim manages the day to day operations of the charity, including finance, HR, IT and governance. She is also responsible for grant fundraising and grant management.  Kim is a charity manager with many years’ experience in the international development sector. She joined APP in July 2017.


Louise Bennett - UK Programmes Manager

Louise works alongside Kim on APP's day to day operations, including HR, grants, and internal communications.  As a former manager in the broadcasting industry she has many years of experience in partnership working and project management. Louise joined APP in 2020.


Ellie Ware - National Peer Support Coordinator

Ellie coordinates APP’s regional café groups and peer support development projects. She trains and manages peer support staff and volunteers who have recovered from PP and supports them to offer support to recovering women and their families.

Ellie’s background is in care management, supporting people with learning disabilities. Ellie experienced PP after the birth of her son Moses in 2011. In her spare time Ellie enjoys meditation, listening to music, and attempting to create some art occasionally!

 Jenny Stevenson - National Peer Support Coordinator (online services)

Jenny coordinates APP’s online peer support, managing APP’s forum, email support and video call support services. Jenny became a volunteer peer supporter in 2014. She has been working with APP since October 2017, and became a national coordinator in February 2022.

Before working for APP, Jenny was an NHS Manager. Jenny suffered from postpartum psychosis ‘out of the blue’ three weeks after the birth of her son in 2012 and spent a month on a Mother and Baby Unit. Finding the APP network and online peer support forum played a key role in her recovery and helped support her and her husband in planning a second pregnancy. Jenny had a second son in 2016, fortunately with no recurrence of postpartum psychosis.

In her spare time she enjoys watching films, playing the piano, listening to music and having sing-alongs with her boys.

 Hannah Bissett - National NHS Projects Coordinator

Hannah manages the delivery of APP’s NHS contracts. She has worked for APP since 2017, as a Peer Supporter and Regional Reps Coordinator. Hannah attended APP’s first ever peer support training session in 2012. Hannah also builds relationships with MBUs and perinatal mental health professionals throughout the UK to raise awareness of PP and APP, as well as linking with Peer Support Workers who have experienced PP working in the NHS.

Hannah had an episode of postpartum psychosis in 2009 "out of the blue" after the birth of her eldest son Sebastian and spent time in a general psychiatric ward as well as a Mother & Baby Unit. After the birth of her second child Reuben in 2013, she stayed well and had no recurrence of PP.  Although originally a classically trained musician, Hannah's most recent work has been in adult social care; when not running around after her boys, she enjoys listening to music, country walks and boxercise.

Simon O'Mara  - Partner Peer Support Coordinator

Simon has volunteered with APP for many years, after experiencing the effects of postpartum psychosis from a partner’s view, when his wife had PP with their first child. He wanted to help raise awareness of PP but also to find ways to improve support for partners and families, who watch their loved ones go through PP and the effects that can have. Having shared his story, Simon has helped with partner information guides, going on to become a 1:1 peer supporter and has given talks from a partner’s perspective to healthcare professionals.

Having joined the APP team in June 2020, Simon is working on our partner’s peer support project, developing a forum for partners to find information, post a question, or simply chat with other partners who have lived experience.

If Simon gets a bit of spare time, you’ll probably find him on the mountain bike trails.

Dr Sally Wilson - National Training & Research Coordinator

Sally joined APP in 2019 and coordinates APP’s Workforce training and Expert by Experience talks for health professionals across the UK. She was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis in 2015 after the birth of her daughter Ella and spent time in a general psychiatric ward.

Sally has a background in research and lecturing in Health and Exercise Sciences at Bangor University. Her research interests include; approaches to improving quality of life in people with chronic illnesses and trialling novel ways to increase research in healthcare settings. In her spare time, Sally enjoys playing hockey, cycling, climbing and spending time with family and friends.

Jessie Hunt - Marketing and Digital Communications Coordinator

Jessie leads APP’s communications and marketing, helping to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis, working with women and families to share their stories and working to drive real-world change.

Jessie has a background in campaigning, marketing and digital for major brands and not-for-profit organisations. She has a BA in Anthropology and Communications and is passionate about the environment, art, mental health, supporting women and social justice.

Jessie experienced postpartum psychosis ‘out of the blue’ in 2013, two weeks after the birth of her baby. As an APP volunteer for many years, she has given peer support to women and families, shared her own story in the press (including on a BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour documentary), and has given many talks to doctors, midwives and health professionals. She has even run a half marathon to fundraise for APP! She joined the APP team as Social Media Co-ordinator in September 2019 and as Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator in June 2020.

In her spare time, she loves walking her dog and enjoys a good cup of coffee.

Felicity Lambert - Fundraiser

Fliss manages fundraising for APP, working with the charity's supporters all over the UK. She has more than 20 years of experience in the voluntary sector, most recently managing the National Breastfeeding Helpline. Fliss joined APP in March 2022.


Clee Lumley - Data Manager and Finance Administrator

Clee joined APP in January 2022 having recently worked at a night shelter for people experiencing homelessness. During her time there she supported guests who were dealing with addiction, abuse, bankruptcy, mental health, asylum seeking or modern slavery, trying to give them the framework to rebuild their lives. Clee has a background in statistical analysis and Data Management.

Rachel Watts - Office Administrator and Fundraising Assistant

Rachel joined APP in October 2022 and is currently on maternity leave expecting her second child. She has more than 15 years of experience in the corporate sector, working in project management, event management, and business support.

Rachel experienced PP six days after the birth of her daughter in May 2020, during the first Covid-19 lockdown, and was subsequently admitted to Rosewood MBU. During her recovery, she had a strong desire to connect to other mums with experience of PP, so she joined APP’s Hampshire & Sussex Café Group, which she still regularly attends.

Rachel Evans - Office Administrator and Fundraising Assistant

Rachel initially trained as an APP Peer Support volunteer in early 2019 before then joining as a sessional worker to facilitate a local Café Group and support with APP's online peer support. Rachel is currently on a career break from her role in local government, joining APP to cover a colleague’s maternity leave.

Rachel has lived experience of PP having had it 'out of the blue' after the birth of her first child in 2016. Alongside Rachel’s admission to an MBU and effective medication, Rachel wholeheartedly credits APP with her own positive recovery. Without the peer support Rachel experienced she wouldn’t have had as good an outcome for her or her wider family.

Prior to APP, Rachel has worked for local charities and in local government in Community Development roles. Most recently Rachel managed a Voluntary Sector Support service helping charities develop best practice including policy writing, volunteer recruitment and management, safeguarding, fundraising, marketing and promotion.

In her spare time Rachel enjoys walking her rescue greyhound, running (not with the greyhound!), volunteering, seeing friends/family and enjoying good food together.

Chris  Guttridge - Partner Peer Support Worker

Chris experienced PP from the partner's perspective when his girlfriend gave birth to their son in 2013 and was admitted to Winchester Mother and Baby Unit. Chris says: "I can distinctly remember reading an APP leaflet about postpartum psychosis to try and understand what was happening. It took several years for me to recover from the effect these events had on me and my family and I've had a keen interest in mental health ever since.

In 2020 I accepted a role in the NHS to build a carers' peer support service within a perinatal community team, using my own experiences to help other partners and carers through their own journey of supporting someone with mental ill health.

Using my own experiences of PP to help others to learn and manage during such a challenging time is the most rewarding career I've ever had".

Shaheda Akhtar  - Peer Support Facilitator, Diverse Communities Outreach Project

Shaheda joined APP in July 2020 and is working to help APP understand how women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds can be encouraged to access help and support. Shaheda has attended peer support training and hopes to be able to engage in peer support for BAME women, understanding their personal experiences, needs and any barriers to care. Shaheda's background is in Project and Programme Management and she has worked in the NHS for the last 7 years.

Shaheda experienced PP in December 2018 following the birth of her daughter and after a brief admission in a General Psychiatric ward was diagnosed and treated at the Birmingham MBU. She feels blessed to have made a swift recovery, returning to work and juggling this with being a new mum. Shaheda hopes to continue on her recovery journey helping others along the way.

Zebunisa Pathan - Peer Support Worker, Diverse Communities Outreach Project

Zebunisa (Zebi) joined APP in April 2022 with her core aim being to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis amongst Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. She is working to help APP understand how women from Black and Asian backgrounds can be encouraged to access help and support, understanding their personal experiences, needs, and any barriers to care. She is also providing 1:1 peer support.

Zebi experienced PP in July 2021 following the birth of her son and was treated at Nottingham MBU. She feels grateful to have had a swift recovery and hopes to give back the good care she received whilst helping other mums through their challenges. Zebi is active in the community and has hosted radio shows to promote awareness of maternal mental illnesses.

Danielle Thomas  - South Wales Assistant Coordinator

Danielle joined APP in March 2019 as a volunteer and worked alongside Ines Beare setting up our South Wales Project and café group. Danielle is a midwife in a busy maternity unit and mother of two – currently on maternity leave.

Danielle was unwell with PP when her daughter was 14 days old, following a traumatic delivery. After initially being managed in a mixed-gender acute mental health ward, she was transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit in Winchester. Eight long months of postnatal depression followed, but on the right medication, through returning to work and with the support of her family, she was able to make a full recovery.

She now looks out for women with mental health problems in her job as a midwife to offer them the best help and support, signpost them and helping to reduce stigma. Danielle is delighted to be able to run the APP café group and offer support to women and families in South Wales affected by PP.

In her spare time, she enjoys fun days out as a family, walking the dog and coffee dates with friends.

Kerry Davison - Peer Support Sessional Worker, NE Café Groups

Kerry experienced PP after the birth of her third baby, after previously being well with her two elder sons and spent some time on the Morpeth Mother and Baby Unit. As well as being part of APP's team, Kerry works for the charity Family Lives, a telephone helpline service providing targeted early intervention and crisis support to families in need of help.

Kerry says: "Since having PP and making a full recovery I’ve had an interest in the illness and raising awareness of it. There is something very special about talking and sharing experiences of PP with other women with lived experiences. I am very proud to be working for APP helping and supporting other women navigate their way through their postpartum psychosis journey."

NHS Partnership team members

Jocelyn Ellams - Peer Support Facilitator, Lancashire and South Cumbria

Jocelyn became a volunteer online peer supporter in February 2018, started working for APP and the project as a sessional peer support worker in March 2019, then became the facilitator in March 2020.

Jocelyn works with Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust providing face to face peer support and information to mums and their families at Ribblemere MBU in Chorley and in the local community. She supports women who have a history of PP or other manic / psychotic illnesses such as bipolar.

Jocelyn gave birth and became ill while living in Brazil. She had no idea what was happening to her and received no support from the professionals there. Through researching perinatal mental illness she found APP and the online forum. The support from other women who had been through the same experiences was inspirational and gave her hope that she would get better.

Natalie Thompson - Peer Support Facilitator, Birmingham and Solihull

Natalie joined APP in July 2019, working alongside Birmingham East Community Team and other peer support workers from Acacia and Approachable parenting. After pilot work, Natalie now also works as part of the South Birmimgham & Solihull teams. Using her experience she will support women and families affected by PP (or other manic/psychotic illnesses) at a difficult and traumatic time.

Natalie experienced PP twice herself in 2003 and 2007, followed by another episode of illness in 2010 and was diagnosed as bipolar. After treatment in an acute psychiatric ward and fantastic care at the Birmingham Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) she knows how hard it is to settle back into everyday life. Initially life’s overwhelming when you come out of the MBU, simple things feel like you are learning them again for the first time. Planning for a baby when you are at risk if PP is really important too.

Soukaina Bennani - Peer Support Facilitator, Birmingham MBU & West

Soukaina joined APP to manage an innovative collaborative project with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. As a Peer Support Facilitator, she works to provide peer support to women, their partners and families in central Birmingham at the Mother and Baby Unit, as well as the West Birmingham area.

Before joining APP, Soukaina was involved with children and adult education as well working as a Project Officer supporting adults with disadvantaged backgrounds. She experienced PP in 2010 after the birth of her child. This was followed by another episode of illness in 2016 when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

During her spare time she enjoys walking, listening to music and baking.

Jo Derry - Peer Support Facilitator, Black Country

Jo suffered with perinatal mental health while pregnant with her daughter in 2006 and went on to experience postpartum psychosis after her birth. There was not a great deal of awareness, information or understanding available at that time regarding PP and Jo struggled enormously with the stigma she and others attached to it. She felt very alone and incapable as a first time mum. Recovery seemed slow and difficult, involving help from family and friends, mother and baby groups, and lots of fresh air and over time she gradually recovered. She had a son in 2010 and was thankfully well after his birth.

With Covid and lockdowns affecting so many people with mental ill health, Jo decided that she wanted a change in career and to focus on helping people who are struggling with mental ill health. She used her experience and skills developed from many years working in Client and Relationship Management to retrain during lockdown and has now joined APP. She says ' I want to be able to help people who are suffering as I did. I just wish the help and awareness of today was available in my time of need and feel very privileged to now be in the position where I can help other women and families regarding this illness'.

Elinor Davies - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Lancashire and South Cumbria

Eli joined APP in December 2023 after volunteering as a peer support worker for several months to provide peer support and guidance to women and families affected by postpartum psychosis (PP), in and around Lancashire and South Cumbria. Eli suffered with PP in the summer of 2020, after the birth of her son. She spent time in a Mother and Baby Unit and went on to have support from the perinatal team after she was discharged.

Eli was introduced to APP while she was admitted to Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit in Chorley. It was here that she met two peer support workers from APP, who gave her hope that she could conquer this scary diagnosis and make a full recovery.

Eli regularly attends APP's café groups and has undertaken volunteer peer support training, to allow her to give back and help others who have experienced PP. She champions APP at any given opportunity, helping to fundraise and offer her time to a cause she is incredibly passionate about. Eli credits APP with helping with her recovery and believes they are a life-line to women and families going through PP, no matter what stage they are in their lives. Eli says she feels less alone thanks to the invaluable input from APP.

In recent years, Eli has shared her own experience of PP and her mental health journey during several training sessions with NHS staff. She feels this is a cathartic process and a great way to offer insight into PP. Eli is keen to give back to those who helped her and to offer hope to those experiencing and recovering from PP.

Jenni Bruce - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Birmingham and Black Country

Jenni joined APP as a volunteer in 2020. She has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and suffered PP followed by deep depression after the birth of her son in 2019. She was a patient at the MBU in Derby for 8 weeks. After the birth of her daughter in 2023, Jenni is currently on maternity leave.

After her recovery from PP, Jenni wanted to make a difference. She is now fully recovered and wants to make a difference in the lives of other people affected by PP.  Jenni is very passionate about spreading awareness about PP as even though she had a diagnosis of bipolar she wasn’t aware of her risk and wasn’t provided with the right information, something she believes should be accessible to all women and families.

In her spare time, Jenni enjoys tap dancing and spending time with her friends and family.

Rachel Rollins - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Birmingham and Black Country

Rachel became an APP volunteer in November 2022 as a volunteer, before joining our team in Birmingham and the Black Country, supporting women and families at the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Birmingham as well as at the regular café group.

Her journey has seen her through numerous episodes of ‘student’ psychosis dating back to 2007. Additionally, she experienced postpartum episodes of psychosis after the births of both her children in 2016 and 2021.

During her spare time Rachel likes to DJ, roller skate and make fun videos.

Ali Barrott - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Manchester

Ali had PP in 2016 after the birth of her third baby. She was admitted to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) 80 miles away from home in Birmingham before being transferred to her nearest unit. She joined APP in 2023 working in partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) providing peer support to inpatients at Andersen MBU in Wythenshawe. She's also part of APP's wider northwest team working on our Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust partnership project. Ali is passionate about raising awareness and understanding of perinatal mental health. In her spare time she enjoys walking her rescue dog, keeping fit, crafting and baking.

Rachel McVeigh - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Manchester

Rachel joined APP in 2023 and is a peer supporter at Andersen Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Greater Manchester working in partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH). She experienced PP out of the blue after the birth of her twins in 2017 and spent 10 weeks on Andersen ward recovering. Having never heard of an MBU or PP before suffering with it, the opportunity to help other mums going through the same was something she felt she had to do. In her spare time she has joined the Mile Shy running club and also enjoys doing arts and crafts activities with her twins.

Nicola Gardner - Peer Support Sessional Worker, Manchester

Nicola joined APP in 2023 as a peer support worker on the Manchester project. She runs the Manchester café group and is also part of APP’s wider northwest team, working on our Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust partnership project.

Nicola experienced PP in 2002. It came on suddenly during the birth of her first daughter and the symptoms worsened in the days following the birth. The lack of knowledge and understanding of PP at this time meant that recovery was slow and difficult, as she remained at home with no medication. She says: “It was the not knowing what was wrong with me and whether I would ever recover, that was most frightening. When I found APP 21 years later, it was the first time I had ever met or spoke to anyone else who had experienced PP, it was very emotional! I knew then that I wanted to be part of this amazing support network , using my experience to help other women.”

In her spare time, Nicola enjoys walking and reading, and watching her sons play football.


Dr Giles Berrisford - Chair

Dr Giles Berrisford is APP’s Chair of Trustees. He leads the Birmingham Perinatal Mental Health Service, one of the UK’s largest and most established inpatient Mother and Baby Units. He is the Deputy Medical Director (Workforce, Legal and Transformation) at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Giles is Associate National Clinical Director for Perinatal Mental Health for NHS England.

Anna Jones - Vice Chair

Anna is an executive coaching consultant, providing in-house leadership, presenting and pitch training for corporations and is the Vice-Chair of APP. She suffered from an ‘out of the blue’ episode of postpartum psychosis in 2005 following the birth of her first child. Anna has been a volunteer for APP since 2010, she is a regional rep, a peer supporter, media volunteer and supports volunteers in giving Lived Experience talks. In 2014 she raised £11K for the charity by cycling from London to Brighton and in 2017 Anna helped to create a multi-disciplinary training programme for the NHS to raise awareness of APP and educate health professionals in best practice when treating women suffering from PP.

Clare Dolman - Trustee

Clare is a freelance journalist who has had bipolar disorder since her early 20's. She experienced an episode of PP after the birth of her first daughter. She is the Vice-Chair of trustees for MMHA and Bipolar UK. She lectures on Public and Patient Involvement in Health Services at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, where she completed a PhD on decision-making about pregnancy and childbirth in women with bipolar disorder.

Professor Ian Jones - Trustee

Ian is a Trustee and scientific advisor to APP and the former Chair of Trustees. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at Cardiff University and the Director of the National Centre for Mental Health. Ian is a world-leading expert on postpartum psychosis.


Sarah Hind - Trustee

Sarah is a freelance trust and statutory fundraiser.  Sarah has an interest in women's mental health with her own experience of dealing with pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.  Sarah was formerly Fundraising & Communications Manager at Quaker Social Action.


Catherine Cho - Trustee

Catherine is a literary agent. She experienced postpartum psychosis after the birth of her first child. She wrote a critically acclaimed memoir, INFERNO: A Memoir of Motherhood and Madness, which was published by Bloomsbury and shortlisted for the Sunday Times' Young Writer of the Year AwardCatherine is a regular contributor to national publications, particularly on themes of mental health awareness and domestic violence.

Annette Bauer - Treasurer

Tracey Robinson - Trustee


Professor Ian Jones

Ian is a Trustee and scientific advisor to APP and the former Chair of Trustees. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at Cardiff University and the Director of the National Centre for Mental Health. Ian is a world-leading expert on postpartum psychosis.


Dr Giles Berrisford

Dr Giles Berrisford is APP’s Chair of Trustees. He leads the Birmingham Perinatal Mental Health Service, one of the UK’s largest and most established inpatient Mother and Baby Units. He is the Deputy Medical Director (Workforce, Legal and Transformation) at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Giles is Associate National Clinical Director for Perinatal Mental Health for NHS England.

Mark Cox