All posts by Molly Lyness

World Mental Health Day: Mental Health for Everyone - Saturday 10th October 2020

It's World Mental Health Day this Saturday and this year’s theme is Mental Health for Everyone. We'd love you to help us raise awareness of the importance of maternal mental health. We'd like to show funders and governments how much we value maternal mental health charities and maternal mental health services.

To support World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10th October 2020 you could share something of your story, explaining why you value maternal mental health charities or services, tagging in @ActiononPP and using the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay.
You could also tag in any other service or charity that you wish, plus your MP or a funder. For example, you could tag:

  • Your local MP. Find their Twitter account names here.
  • Nadine Dorries, MP, @NadineDorries: Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health.
  • Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP, @DrRosena: Shadow Minister for Mental Health.
  • Luciana Berger, @lucianaberger: LibDem spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and new Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
  • Vaughan Gething, @vaughangething: Welsh Minister for Health.
  • Joe FitzPatrick, @JoeFitzSNP: Scotland Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing.
  • Robin Swann, @RobinSwannMoH: Northern Ireland Minister for Health.
  • Comic Relief: @comicrelief.
  • The National Lottery Community Fund: @TNLComFund.

You can also help amplify our calls for maternal mental health services by re-sharing the messages posted by our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

World Mental Health Day: Do one thing for better mental health today 

The theme Mental Health for Everyone is especially important this year because of the huge impact the coronavirus pandemic has had, and continues to have, on perinatal mental health. This year we’re joining in with MIND’s campaign to Do one thing for better mental health. This could be for your own mental health; the mental health of a loved one; sharing a campaign message; donating to a mental health charity; or helping to raise awareness that mental health is a national priority.

Here are some ideas for things you could do:

  • Consider what you can do today for your own mental health: connect with a friend, take an online class, do something relaxing, reach out for support or to meet and talk to others, for example via APP's peer support services.
  • Join one of APP’s virtual communities to support your wellbeing. In APP’s Running, Walking & Cycling Club members share details of the activities they are planning and offer inspiration and support for keeping fit and active. APP’s Book Club is a relaxed and friendly space open to all to chat about books on any topic. Join us for a virtual meet-up on Tuesday 3 November at 8pm where we’ll be discussing Laura Dockrill’s book ‘What Have I Done?’
  • Get in touch today to find out more about our regional online café groups or about joining a volunteer group (you could become an APP Regional Rep, Peer Support Volunteer, Storytelling Volunteer or Lived Experience speaker).
  • Take time to check on family and friends. It’s more important than ever to be kind to yourself and others. Grab a cup of tea, pick up the phone and ask ‘how are you?’. See some ideas for little treats for a new mum recovering from PP on our Facebook page.
  • Share APP's latest campaign messages: Re-post our #MumWatch graphic (pictured below) - raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis so that everyone knows how to seek urgent help if a new mum seems strange. During this time of increased isolation for new mums it is vital that partners and friends know how to identify symptoms.

  • Share our urgent call for Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in Wales and Northern Ireland, where there are none. Email app@app-network.org to get involved in our Wales campaign to support the development of an MBU and sign the petition by APP Rep, Oorlagh Quinn, for government commitment to an MBU in Northern Ireland.

  • Remind everyone on World Mental Health Day that postpartum psychosis (PP) is an illness affecting 140,000 women across the globe every year and that we won't stop until all women and families affected by PP receive the care and support they need.
  • Organise a fundraising event - it could be a Facebook Fundraiser, bake sale or sponsored run. Or you could set up a monthly donation as a gift to APP.

Need help on the day?

APP’s forum and peer supporters are here to help if you’re finding the day difficult: www.app-network.org/peer-support. You can access our web page about gaining care for postpartum psychosis during the coronavirus pandemic here.

Sally runs a half marathon for APP!

A huge thank you goes to Sally Hogg, who a year after skydiving for APP, organised and ran a half marathon around her local area on 11th October to support APP.

Sally is a big supporter of APP, and has two friends who were affected by the illness, including one who spent two periods in Mother and Baby Units after the birth of her sons.  Sally also worked on improving services for women with perinatal mental health problems and is an admirer of APP’s work, particularly the central role played by women with lived experience.

Following her amazing efforts, Sally said: 'The run was great, we had some lovely support from friends.  I am thrilled with the fundraising and hope to get some more when the Royal Parks happens too’

Sally was due to be running the Royal Parks half marathon for APP in October, which has sadly been postponed due to COVID-19. However, Sally is still looking forward to completing the Royal Parks race next year.

Sally raised such incredible awareness and funds through her JustGiving page, which you can still visit and donate to here.  Thank you Sally for your continued support of APP and to all who have donated!

- Sally’s fundraiser has raised a fantastic £919.00 for APP!

If you have been inspired by Sally and would like to run in aid of APP, email us here. We would love to support any event you choose!

Emma & Laura's 100 Mile Challenge

A huge thank you to both Emma Watt and Laura Dockrill who organised and ran 100 miles to support APP and PANDAS!

Emma completed her 100 miles throughout the month of June 2020 and raised such incredible awareness and funds through her Virgin Money Giving page, which you can still visit and donate to here.

Following her amazing efforts and the support Emma received by every supporter, Emma said: 'I was overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone and this really spurred me on for the 100 miles. I couldn’t be prouder to hand over the baton to Laura Dockrill x'.

Despite an injury, Laura completed her 100 miles with the help of 33 friends who each ran 3 miles/5K on the same day on Saturday 22 August 2020.

The runners included @hugowhitenoise @daisymaydock @r_mcbean @hdurkle @sioby11 @robertemms @victoriabuzzington @el_matthews_ @ssoufian @annekaharry @jadeanouka @_gracesavage @thesabrinagrant @zeshaldinho @helen_kenny @victoria_cooper @gemagain @camtstagram @danusztan @db_personal_training @becki_haslam @torie_green @lindseyjrussell @waureng @peggysuekaty @jagjagomix @ezzamcp @jasonsales @samuelking @mkpyoungman @freddie_errington @johntrindle @thelippyrunner @maxulla and @secakery.

In a video shared with her Instagram followers on the day of the run, Laura said: 'The love and support has just been overwhelming, I had goosebumps the entire run. It's without a doubt, the easiest 5K I've ever done because the energy was just so amazing..'. You can watch Laura's full clip here and still donate here.

Thank you Emma and Laura for your fantastic efforts in support of APP and thank you to everyone who took part and to those who donated.

If you have been inspired by Emma & Laura's 100 mile challenge and would like to run in aid of APP, email us at fundraising@app-network.org. We would love to support you!

Join APP in getting involved in #MaternalSuicidePreventionWeek


#MaternalSuicidePreventionWeek, 7th-11th September 2020
Join Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) in getting involved in #MaternalSuicidePreventionWeek by helping to raise awareness of Postpartum Psychosis. 

Over the past 10 years, APP have been working to reduce the risk of maternal suicide, by training peer supporters, developing information, training health professionals and raising awareness of Postpartum Psychosis. So much has been achieved, but we are not there yet.

Please help by sharing APP’s #MumWatch campaign
For #MaternalSuicidePreventionWeek we’re talking about the signs of Postpartum Psychosis, so that we can all look out for them and take action to prevent suicide in new mums. Please help by sharing the following campaign text and image widely:

Feel like your partner or friend is not themselves?
Be the friend they need - help make an urgent appointment with their Doctor, Midwife or call 111. If you think there is imminent danger, call 999. With help they will recover.
#MumWatch #MaternalSuicidePreventionWeek @ActionOnPP

Please also follow and share APP’s social media posts throughout the week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you have been bereaved following Postpartum Psychosis
Our peer supporters can signpost to sources of information and support.
Please get in touch to find out how you can get involved with APP’s work by emailing app@app-network.org

Please donate to help support our life-saving work
1 in 3 people who use APP’s peer support say they might not be here today without it. Peer support can be life-saving.
Please donate to support our work >

Thank you to Mother London for supporting APP’s #MumWatch campaign.

Follow Simon & Jude's 2500 mile cycle!

Huge thanks to Simon and Jude Hill who are cycling 2500 miles to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis and funding for APP!

Simon and Jude said: "When our third daughter, Emily, suffered from postpartum psychosis after the birth of her daughter in 2018, we were so grateful for the support she received whilst in Leeds MBU. That support has continued to help her towards making a full recovery. Emily is an experienced mid-wife and after her maternity leave was able to return to work at a local birth centre.

Jude and I had been planning a long bike ride in the USA to raise funds for APP but that was shelved with the onset of the pandemic. We realised that whilst we have all been enduring the difficulties of lockdown, a small number of mothers, their partners and families have had to cope with the additional challenges brought on by PP. Raising money to facilitate the work of APP must not be delayed, to support future mothers who experience postpartum psychosis.

Starting on 21st August, 2020, we will be doing a UK based challenge by riding from Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG), and back. Following mainly National Cycle Routes (SUSTRANS) to cover the 2500 miles, we will be camping whenever possible. Our hope is to be back at our home in Somerset by early October."

Join Simon and Jude by donating on their JustGiving page here, Pedalling for PP awareness

You can also click here to follow Simon and Jude on Instagram, “Pedalling for PP awareness”, or to keep up to date with their fantastic LEJOG journey, check out their itinerary plans here and their Strava journeys here!

Thank you Simon and Jude for your incredible efforts and support of APP! We wish you the best of luck.

Katrina's run to support APP!

A huge thank you to Katrina for organising and successfully completing her run on 18th July, with her friend Danielle!

Katrina & Danielle were running in support of APP and want to "break the stigma around mental health".

Thank you Katrina and Danielle and to everyone who donated via Katrina's JustGiving page here - Katrina's amazing fundraiser has raised a fantastic £397 for APP!

If you have been inspired by Katrina & Danielle and would like to run in aid of APP, email us at fundraising@app-network.org. We would love to support any event you chose!

Links and More Information

For a list of England’s community teams go to: https://nhswebbeds.co.uk/community-team/list

For a list of Mother & Baby Units go to: https://nhswebbeds.co.uk

APP offer support for those affected by postpartum psychosis (personally, or at risk of PP, due to bipolar disorder. For telephone, email or Facebook support for postnatal depression and anxiety, see: https://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/

For general advice about managing mental health, isolation and anxiety visit:

For advice specific to perinatal mental health during Coronavirus visit:

For more advice about Coronavirus:

 

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During Recovery from PP

You can find APP’s resources on recovery here.

1. How will I get medication? How will I be monitored and supported during recovery?

Urgent home visits will continue. Some routine appointments will happen via video call.

2. How can I manage my anxiety, depression, isolation during recovery while we are socially distancing?

UK wide, online resources and peer support will be incredibly important for recovering women. There is already a wide range of online resources and more are being produced each day. The links below contains further resources, recommended reading, recovery modules, and support.

APP provide support, information and a lived experience community for women & families recovering from PP. You can talk to others on our forum or get in touch to talk to a trained peer supporter via text or email. We have a variety of Facebook groups you can join and zoom activities you can get involved in.

NHS mental health services are open & here for you during this time. Contact them if you need extra help.

3. Social distancing and isolation mean my usual family support, and especially grandparents, are not available. Where can we find help?

NHS services will continue to provide outreach support during recovery via telephone, video and face to face as needed. Do ask for support if you need it.

The support that friends and family are able to provide will depend on your own situation and theirs. As someone recovering from a severe mental illness, a ‘carer’ in a non-vulnerable group can visit to provide support. Please check up-to-date guidelines here.

APP will continue our national peer support services throughout the outbreak. Our Forum is available for you to talk to other women and partners: www.app-network.org/peer-support/

We offer one to one peer support for anyone in the UK, where you are paired with an APP coordinator with lived experience, or a volunteer peer supporter. We can give this one to one peer support via messaging, email, or video call. APP also have trained partner and grandparent peer supporters. If you would like to access this support or join our lived experience community, email us here. We have a variety of Facebook groups and social media activities you can get involved in.

Resources for partners are available here, and you can join our partner’s Facebook page for more information, signposting and support.

 

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In Crisis or Developing Symptoms of PP

You can find APP’s general resources about symptoms of postpartum psychosis here and getting help here. You can find more information on common early symptoms here. You can find APP information guides about PP for women and partners here. If you are a partner, you can also join our Partner’s Facebook group for information, signposting and support from other partners who have ‘been there’.

1. If I develop symptoms of PP, how will assessment happen?

  • If you believe you are developing symptoms of postpartum psychosis (or your partner, family members is) you need to act urgently via the normal routes: telephone your GP, maternity services, or 111. If you believe you or someone in your household is in imminent danger, call 999. Services are still here for you. Urgent home visits are still being completed, but may also include phone & video call contact.
  • Every acute mental health trust in England has a 24/7 crisis line number who can direct you to appropriate services. You can find your local one here – input your postcode in the helplines section.
  • In Scotland, A&E mental health presentations are being diverted directly to mental health sites. Crisis/Out of Hours staff will work in assessment centres with extra resources, seeing people from A&E and other urgent referrals.

2. Are Mother & Baby Units staying open?

  • In England and Scotland MBUs will remain open and are doing an enormous amount of work to minimise any risk of infection on inpatient units. There are no units in Wales; women requiring MBU admission will be offered the opportunity of a bed in England. In Northern Ireland, postnatal women with PP are admitted to General Adult Psychiatric Units for care.

3. How are MBU’s managing coronavirus?

  • MBUs are following general NHS inpatient guidance on barrier nursing and staff will be using personal protection equipment (PPE) for patients with coronavirus symptoms. MBUs have set up isolation areas to care for women separately. To date there have been very few cases of coronavirus in MBUs.
  • Visitor advice varies between units. Some units have restricted visits to one named family member per patient, with specific time slots. Please contact the MBU for more specific advice. For a full list of MBUs in England click here  or here for all UK units.
  • NHS England guidance on visiting during the coronavirus crisis can be found here, and, for Scotland, here.
  • Patients will be supported to use FaceTime and telephone video calling more. Peer Support, including that delivered by APP, will be available via video call, and in some areas, peer supporters are still visiting the unit.

 

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Pregnant Women Concerned about PP

(i.e. those who have had a previous PP or who have a bipolar diagnosis):

You can find APP’s insider guide: ‘Planning pregnancy: a guide for women at high risk of Postpartum Psychosis’ here & APP’s resources on bipolar disorder and pregnancy here. You can take part in a trial of a new interactive workbook to support women through pregnancy by emailing us here.

1. What will happen to my antenatal psychiatric appointments or preconception advice appointments?

  • In England, Scotland & Wales, there are plans in place for routine home visits and out-patient appointments to continue, but some appointments will be done by telephone or video call. We will add information from Northern Ireland when we have it.
  • Perinatal Psychiatrists say that birth planning for women at high risk of PP will in some cases be offered remotely but will still be thorough and comprehensive.

2. How do I get medication during this crisis?

  • In England, Scotland and Wales, medication plans for pregnancy and the postnatal period should be made with perinatal psychiatrists in advance to ensure there is plenty of time to get prescriptions filled. Talk to your GP, Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team, or Perinatal Psychiatrist, to ensure plans are in place.
  • Women who are remaining on Lithium throughout pregnancy will continue to need the same degree of medical vigilance. Antenatal care is still “open for business” and obstetrics/ maternity and perinatal mental health will work collaboratively to ensure the safest possible antenatal care remains uninterrupted.
  • In Scotland, medication prescribing remains with GPs on recommendation of mental health services. We will add information from Northern Ireland when we have it.
  • You can phone your GP prescriptions line / psychiatric services and they can send prescriptions directly to your local pharmacy for collection. Some pharmacies are operating a delivery service for those who are shielding or self isolating.

3. What impact does Covid-19 have on pregnancy, foetal development or risk of postnatal illness?

  • Our best knowledge to date is that Covid-19 doesn’t seem to cause problems with pregnancy, and it is believed that having CV-19 is unlikely to impact on your baby’s development. Most pregnant women who develop the illness will experience mild or moderate cold or flu-like symptoms. Pregnant women with other health conditions (e.g heart disease, or if you usually are advised to have a flu jab) should be extra cautious as they may be more unwell than other women. It may be possible for you to pass coronavirus to your baby before they are born. But when this has happened, the babies have got better. There’s no evidence coronavirus causes miscarriage or affects how your baby develops in pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women have been placed in the ‘moderate risk group’ as a precautionary measure as not enough is yet known about the virus. This means you should follow guidance on hand-washing and social distancing. You can access up to date government guidance here.
  • You should still attend appointments and scans, unless advised not to.
  • You should still seek help if you are worried about your physical or mental health.
  • Maintaining contact with friends and family, and being active, can be very important to maintaining good mental health during pregnancy, so consider how to stay connected, and what you can do, within government guidelines.
  • The Royal College of Midwives and The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced some excellent guidance for health professionals and women, which is being regularly updated here and here. You can access the Royal College of Psychiatrists advice here.
  • We do not yet know whether stresses related to the crisis will impact on women’s chance of developing maternal mental illness. We know that managing anxiety and stress in pregnancy and the postnatal period is important. You can find excellent advice from Mind about managing anxiety and isolation here and from the Mental Health Foundation here.

APP are here for you. If you are a pregnant women with previous experience of PP or bipolar, you can talk to an APP peer supporter by visiting our forum or registering for email or video support here. APP also has a number of Facebook groups (e.g. a book club, an activities & wellbeing group, various volunteer groups) you can join.

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