All posts by Lindsey

Music 4 Mums: London Piano Recital

wasaWe are delighted to announce that award-winning pianist Waka Hasegawa has agreed to give a recital at St John's Church, London Waterloo on 3rd May.

Programme:
Handel, The Harmonious Blacksmith
Beethoven, Sonata No. 14 Op.27-2 “Moonlight Sonata”
Chopin, Nocturnes Op.9 No.2 & Op.27 No.2 & Waltzes Op.64 No.1 & Op. 69 No.1
Liszt, Liebesträume No.2 (Dreams of Love)
Piazzolla, Adios Nonino "Tango Rhapsody"

There will be an interval with refreshments and a silent auction too. 

Waka is a friend of APP member, Benedicte Waaler, who has done a fantastic job organising this high profile event so swiftly and now we all need to help her promote it.

Tickets are £15 +bkg with all proceeds to APP. The concert will be followed by an auction. BOOK TICKETS HERE and please spread the word. 

Find out more about our Music 4 Mums fundraising initiative in May here. 

Duchess of Cambridge learns about Postpartum Psychosis

KatDuchessAPP's regional rep for London, Kathryn, recounts a very special day at the launch of Best Beginning's "Out of the Blue" film package.
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"Wednesday's terrorist attack on Westminster horrified us all.  But the work of mental health campaigners goes on: we will not be stopped by extremists.  And neither, it turns out, will the Duchess of Cambridge.
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As I watched events unfold on the news the night before I was sure that, after weeks of anticipation, the Best Beginnings event would be cancelled.  Surely security concerns would keep the Royals safely inside Kensington Palace?  But no.  The show went on and as a community of perinatal mental health campaigners we focused our attention firmly on the future.
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We had been invited to attend the launch of Best Beginning's "Out Of The Blue" film series.  They had recently partnered with the Heads Together charity, set up by Princes William and Harry and the Duchess.  It promised to be an auspicious event.
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I had first gotten involved with the project over two years ago now.  I had agreed to contribute to the films about severe postpartum mental illness, and Mother and Baby Units.  With my son (who was only around two years old at the time), I spent several hours being interviewed on camera for the films, and captured revisiting the Unit where we spent the first three months of James' life.  The subsequent editing and producing seemed to take months (if not years!) and so by the time my launch invite arrived I had almost forgotten about our contribution.  In the intervening period I had suffered relapses of bipolar depression, recovered again, learned a lot about my own mental health, trained as a Mental Health First Aid instructor, and spent two long secondments with my family in the Cayman Islands.
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The gathering at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists beautiful Regents Park headquarters was full of perinatal mental health professionals, charity workers and families with lived experience.  And I (and the many other contributors) felt like a minor celebrity, as everyone seemed to know who I was from having seen the films!  It was great to meet  many of the other participants and their families: we came from all walks of life, and all over the country.  Our experiences covered the wide spectrum of perinatal mental illness: anxiety, PTSD, antenatal and postnatal depression, and of course postpartum psychosis.
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Seven of us (along with two partners) had been asked to take part in a special support group setting.  After the Duchess's speech in the Auditorium she joined us for half an hour to hear our stories and ask questions.  Like any support group we were all there first and foremost as parents and that included the Duchess.  We supported each other to tell our individual stories and by the time HRH arrived we were in full swing.  Albeit joined by several TV cameras, photographers, journalists, and Personal Assistants!
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I was asked to speak first.  Having been warned to keep things brief I gave a short synopsis of what happened to me and James, to culminate in our admission to the Bethlem MBU.  I managed to impress upon her the importance of such specialist, high quality, psychiatric care.  And how I was one of the lucky ones in the postcode lottery: I had access to this specialist care and a local MBU bed.  Asides from this intensive psychiatric care, the second part of my recovery, I explained, was about "owning" my illness and being able to talk about it with friends and family.  I had the chance to tell the Duchess how pleased I was that she and her family had started the Heads Together campaign.  With such powerful voices, they will do a lot to reduce mental illness stigma and get people talking about their own mental health.
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With a final photo call and a hastily-arranged interview with a Daily Mail journalist the official day was over.  Social media had set my phone alight: but it was all worth it to have given postpartum psychosis a royal audience, and to have helped make a package of films that will educate healthcare professionals and new families for years to come."

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Comic Relief Fund PP Peer Support

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APP Director Jess proudly wearing a red nose alongside Ruth from Bluebell Care and Alison and Shabira from Best Beginnings, who have also received Comic Relief support.

On Red Nose Day 2017, we're thrilled to announce that Comic Relief have awarded APP a grant of £120,000 to part-fund our peer support service from 1 March for 30 months.

This will fund paid time for our Peer Support Coordinators and workshops to train new Peer Support Volunteers.

We are delighted with this news but it's only one part of the funding jigsaw. We are working on a new application to the Big Lottery, alongside other Trusts & Foundations. Our new health professional training, with lived experience speakers, will help raise extra cash and we have events planned throughout the year starting with Music 4 Mums around World Maternal Mental Health day.

Your support continues to be vital, allowing us to help women & families, whilst we secure further funding. It has been a powerful way to demonstrate to funders the need for our charity and the commitment of our supporters.

Thank you and a big THANK YOU to Comic Relief. Please enjoy Red Nose Day and don't forget to donate! 

 

Ruth & Sally's Big Welsh Swim

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Sally suffered with postpartum psychosis following the birth of her daughter in 2015.

It was a terrifying experience that Sally has fought hard and shown immense determination to overcome. Two years on, Sally and friend Ruth will plunge into a freezing cold Welsh lake this summer in celebration of her recovery and to raise money for APP. They say: 

"We are setting ourselves this challenge in solidarity with the incredible bravery of every single woman who has experienced this frightening illness. We also want to honour the partners, families and friends who are affected. Our aim is to raise oodles of cash to fund further research, better information and support for sufferers of PP. So please, please dig deep and support a charity that helps women and their families recover from this devastating illness, thank-you!"

Please support their Big Welsh Swim. 

You can read about and listen to Sally and husband Jamie's story in this powerful episode of BBC Radio Wales Eye on Wales programme. 

Allen Lane Foundation Back PP Peer Support

AllenLanelogoWe're delighted to announce the Allen Lane Foundation have awarded APP a grant of £6,000 towards our PP Peer Support Service. 

The Foundation funds small charities and organisations and aims to fund work which:

  • will make a lasting difference to people’s lives rather than simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems
  • is aimed at reducing isolation, stigma and discrimination, and
  • encourages or enables unpopular groups to share in the life of the whole community

Specifically, the grant will fund a Peer Support Volunteer training workshop and additional paid hours for Peer Support Coordinators over the next 12 months, to enhance the sustainability of the service. 

We are very grateful to the Trustees of the Allen Lane Foundation for supporting our vital work. Find out more about the Foundation at their website

Eye On Wales: Sally & Jamie Share Their Story

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APP volunteer, Sally and her husband Jamie bravely shared their story in an extraordinarily moving BBC Radio Wales Eye on Wales episode about Postpartum Psychosis. 

Our Trustee, Professor Ian Jones also features, explaining the condition and talking about the need for a Mother & Baby Unit in Wales. APP Peer Support Volunteer Anna, who supported Sally during her recovery, talks about our online PPTalk forum and 1:1 support.

Listen to the Eye on Wales Podcast here. The story also made the BBC News homepage

We are so grateful to Sally and Jamie, Ian, Anna, Kayley Thomas and the Eye On Wales team for producing such a brave, sensitive and powerful broadcast

Sally is also fundraising for APP with  her colleague Ruth, braving a Big Welsh Swim in Padarn Lake on 22 July. You can sponsor them here

Who's up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon?

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For the first time, APP has been awarded TWO places in the Royal Parks Half Marathon

Race day is Sunday 8th October, so more than 6 months to get in training. They say, 

"This stunning central London half marathon, takes in the capital's world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London's eight Royal Parks - Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James's Park and Kensington Gardens."

We need two keen runners and fundraisers to get involved. Could it be you? Email app@app-network.org to express interest and let us know why you want to run for APP.  

London Marathon Training Update!

image16 weeks and counting!!! An update from Katie. 
 
The reality of the marathon is really beginning to dawn on me now and whilst I am excited for the day, the long training runs are not so thrilling. I am trying to vary my training routes and I know from experience that I run faster in urban environments than in parks so I've been exploring parts of London that I've not really visited before to entertain me whilst I run. The donations I've received so far have been a massive boost to my motivation and a real focus when my legs start to ache or boredom kicks in! I've been so touched by the messages from families that have suffered from PP and it makes me very proud to be running for such an important cause.
 
My weekly training plan focuses on a long run first thing on Saturday morning (this week will be 18 miles), a personal training session on Sunday morning concentrating on weights and interval training and then during the week I do a combination of running home from work and reformer pilates. Given my age and post baby body(!) my main goal during training is to strengthen and prevent against injury. My biggest fear is that I will get injured ahead of the big day so it has to be a slow and steady build up. 
 
So for now it's four more weeks of 18 plus mile runs and then the slightly better phase of tapering my distance and carb loading can begin! 
 
Thank you again to all those who have sponsored - it is truly appreciated.
 
Sponsor Katie here
 
Come with Team APP to cheer her on by joining our Facebook event here

 

Deborah to Plunge into Great North Swim

duck_webWhat lurks in Lake Windemere?

Deborah Page, Clinical Team Leader of Perinatal Mental Health at Leeds MBU, will find out in June as she braves the Great North Swim to raise money for APP!

Please support Deborah by sponsoring her via this JustGiving page. 

She says 'Women with lived experience of this cruel illness, give their time to support other mothers and we professionals hand out leaflets provided by APP offering advice and support to supplement the work we do. APP have supported and advised on policy and service development to improve access to services for families. They continue to support us in trying to increase awareness and reduce the stigma of post natal mental illness. Stigma and guilt are the biggest barriers to women accessing support. Please give what little you can. It all helps. Thank you so much. Deborah'

APP's Regional Rep Coordinator, Hannah, has worked with Deborah at Leeds MBU and says:

"My visit to the unit was the first meeting I had as a Regional Rep and I got a really warm welcome.  I saw the APP Insider Guides and posters I had taken along were put out and displayed as one of the Doctors showed me around.  It was great to hear that they felt they'd soon be taken by patients and families, as some other copies had long since gone!

Chatting about my experiences, especially around my 2nd pregnancy, it really struck me that general and maternity professionals weren't as aware of the service as they might be. I didn't know at the time, but they would have seen me if only my care team had known to refer me! It was such an honour to be asked by Deborah to speak at the launch of the new Yorkshire and Humber Perinatal Mental Health Outreach service in March 2016 and to share my story with over 100 attendees."

Personal Experiences of Talking About PP

APP's Peer Supporters and Volunteers hosted an hour-long chat on Twitter for Time To Talk day on 2 February 2017 around people's experience of stigma. The hour flew past, with lots of contributions and lively chat from different perspectives. We've gathered the best of the Tweets into this Storify and juggled them under topics to try and give a linear narrative. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to share your thoughts and comments on Twitter with us @ActiononPP.