Category Archives: fundraising

Steve runs the Yorkshire Marathon for APP

Steve Bushell ran the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday 17th October 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Steve is the husband of Jo Bushell, who has also held several fundraisers for APP.

Steve said: “Shortly after the birth of our first child, my wife suffered an episode of postpartum psychosis (PP).

It hit us a few days into parenthood, following a week of zero sleep. The most terrifying thing that night when we called an ambulance was the realisation that in addition to me and our family not understanding what was happening, neither did any of the medical staff or paramedics on call that Sunday.

Jo was transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit the following day and received great care as part of her recovery.

APP provides support for women and families who have experienced PP and strives to raise awareness of the illness. They also create networks to connect those with lived experience and campaign for better services.

Steve’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,650. We would like to say a huge thank you to Steve for supporting APP and to all who have donated.

You can still visit and donate to his fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Steve, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy’s Oswestry 10k run for APP

Amy Coutts-Britton took part in the Oswestry 10k on Sunday 17th October 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Amy is a peer support volunteer with APP and has attended training events, meeting other mums like her who have experienced postpartum psychosis.

Amy said: “I have decided to reignite my running career 15 years post marathon.

I believe this APP is more important than ever during the pandemic as when you’re going through potentially one of the scariest things in your life it can help you feel less alone and be a fab informative and listening ear when so many baby groups etc have been limited.

APP trains peer supporters such as myself to provide forum based online support but also gives us the means to provide 1:1 support for people going through this traumatic experience, including their partners and wider families. APP also arranges café groups so we can meet up in person and feel less alienated.

It really is a shining light in the darkness that is postpartum psychosis.”

Amy’s fundraiser has raised more than £425. We would like to say a huge thank you to Amy for supporting APP and to all who have donated.

You can still visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Amy, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here

 

 

 

 

Our 'Fabulous Four' who ran this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon

For this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon which took place on Sunday 10th October, APP had four amazing runners: Sally Hogg, Nicola Ball, Jeni Dibley-Rouse and Anneka Harry.The Half Marathon was held in central London, and took 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 - in all their autumnal glory.

Sally has 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. Sally completed a skydive with team APP in 2018, and ran a virtual half marathon in her local area for APP in October 2020 after the Royal Parks ‘live’ event was postponed due to Covid-19. She also ran in this year’s live event.

Sally says: "Two of my friends have had postpartum psychosis (PP), and through my work I’ve met many other women who have suffered from PP. APP is a fantastic charity which provides information and support to women and their families, trains health professionals and facilitates research. The charity has been instrumental in campaigning for improvements to services for women with PP across the UK. Women who experience PP have a very difficult and unusual experience of early motherhood. In addition, the stigma associated with mental illness can make it hard for them to talk about their experience. APP’s peer support helps women and families affected by PP feel understood, supported and less isolated”

You can still visit and donate to Sally’s JustGiving page here.

Nicola says: “In 2016 I was diagnosed with PP after the birth of my daughter. A relatively unknown mental illness that affects 1-2 in 1,000 births. This year to raise money and just as importantly raise awareness I will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon with my amazing friend Jeni Dibley-Rouse who has been incredible."

You can still visit and donate to Nicola’s JustGiving page here.

Jeni says: “I am very proud to be running the Royal Parks half marathon for APP and supporting our friends Nicola and James. They have overcome PP with the support of this amazing charity. The work that APP completes is vital in supporting and raising awareness of the condition, please donate to help support the APP and help me through the last few weeks of training.”

You can still visit and donate to Jeni’s JustGiving page here.

Anneka chose to support APP after her friend, APP Ambassador Laura Dockrill, experienced PP. She says: “In 2018, postpartum psychosis tried to steal my friend Laura Dockrill from her son, her partner, her family and friends. From her very own life. When Laura was in the psychiatric hospital, I wrote her a poem to act as a mirror, to remind her why she is the best friend and human being. Laura not only survived but, as she says herself, she surTHRIVED. And she has come out the other side an EVEN BETTER version of the best friend and human being! APP is a small charity doing big work – promoting awareness, funding research and campaigning to help more women and families surthrive.”

You can still visit and donate to Anneka’s VirginMoneyGiving page here.

Our four runners have raised more than £3,900 for APP. We would like to thank Sally, Nicola, Jeni, and Anneka for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

If you have been inspired by our runners, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Cyclist to travel 850 virtual miles raising awareness of support needed for partners during postpartum psychosis

APPs Partner Peer Support Coordinator, Simon O’Mara, is embarking on a mammoth 851 mile journey to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis, its impact on partners and the need for more Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in the UK.

Simon came up with the idea of a virtual tour of the UK’s MBUs to highlight their importance in caring for women who develop postpartum psychosis and their families. He hopes to raise awareness among women, partners and families of where the UK’s MBUs are and, importantly, the need for units in areas of the UK currently without them.

Simon, whose wife was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis 15 years ago, said: “When my wife was diagnosed it was a frightening time – not least because we had no prior knowledge of postpartum psychosis. But in many ways I feel that we were incredibly lucky in that we were able to access care in an MBU less than a 40 minute drive away – in my work with APP, I realise that many other families aren’t so lucky.”

Postpartum psychosis is a debilitating postnatal mental illness that can occur out of the blue in the days following childbirth. New mums with postpartum psychosis may develop high or low mood, or fluctuate between them, alongside delusions, hallucinations or severe confusion. Many of these mothers have had no previous mental health diagnosis prior to onset – although women with bipolar disorder are at higher risk. It affects around 1,400 women and their families every year in the UK and is always considered a medical emergency. However, it is treatable and women go on to make a full recovery with the right support.

Simon added: “APP has been campaigning for more MBUs for many years now, and cycling the distances between these services felt like a really good way to show just how these gaps in provision can affect families.”

Simon had planned to follow the route on the road, however, due to the pandemic, he invested in a smart trainer so he could complete virtual cycle rides using his own bike and smart technology. He will now follow the route virtually using the smart trainer, linking in with the MBUs along the way for online chats with MBU staff about partner support, and talking to other partners who have been affected by PP.

Dr Jess Heron, Chief Executive, APP, said: “Families across the four UK nations are often faced with difficult decisions about receiving specialist MBU care many miles from home or being admitted to a general psychiatric ward. As women can expect hospital treatment to last 8 to 12 weeks, and full recovery to take many, many months, this distance can be an enormous pressure on new families. Families in Northern Ireland, North Wales and the North of Scotland do not yet have access to an MBU in their region.

“While we know that experiencing a severe mental illness at this time can be devastating for women, our research shows that partners also describe the experience as the most traumatic of their lives. Many men describe long-term impacts on their own mental health. NHS England has made a commitment as part of the Long Term Plan to inform, signpost and support partners. We hope other regions of the UK will follow suit. MBUs play a vital role in supporting partners and entire family units at this time and have expertise that general psychiatric units do not have.

“We have been working with partners for a long time at APP to support them with information and signposting about postpartum psychosis and getting help, but we are delighted that we now have a dedicated peer support team who can provide email, telephone, forum and video call support for dads and partners. We work closely with all UK MBUs to ensure that all who need it have access to peer support when postpartum psychosis impacts their family.

”We are so grateful for Simon’s commitment to raise awareness of the support needs of partners and we will be cheering him on from the ‘virtual’ sidelines!”

APP delivers award-winning peer support services working in partnership with NHS Trusts around the UK, manages an online national peer support forum and facilitates impactful research into postpartum psychosis.

To find out more about Simon’s story, and to sponsor his cycle ride, please visit his JustGiving Page

If you are a partner and use Swift, Simon would love some support and virtual chats as he completes his journey. You'll also be able to follow him on Strava.

You can see  daily updates below; 

Day 1 update 02/10/21: Simon completed 41 miles, which is the equivalent from West of Scotland MBU (Glasgow) to St. John’s, Livingtston.

Day 2 update 03/10/21: 45.2 miles ridden, total mileage over the weekend now at 85.2 miles. 

Day 3 update 05/10/21: Simon is working in the week, so cycling in the evening. 24 miles done this evening.

Day 4 update 06/10/21: Simon cycled 26 miles in the evening, is 96 miles into stage 2, with a total of 136 miles completed to date.

Day 5 update 07/10/21: 26.5 miles completed with a 1,098ft climb.

Day 6 update 08/10/21; Sees Simon finish stage 2, a total of 179 miles into the journey and Beadnell MBU.

Day 7 update 09/10/21: Simon has now completed a total of 209 miles, and has a virtual meet with Beadnell MBU in the morning.

Day 8 update 10/10/21: Simon had a great virtual meet with Beadnell MBU this morning, having reached Morpeth last night. They talked about the support they not only provide for the mums but also the partners and families. A small unit and noticeable the large mileage between MBUs around this area, some partners/families having long journeys to visit their wife and baby. That's stage 2 complete. Simon is now 179 miles into the journey and about to start stage 3 a 121 mile stretch.

Day 9 update 11/10/21: Simon cycled a short stint today, just to keep the legs turning -10 miles. Stage 3 and Simon has completed 85 miles; only 35 miles to go till the end of this stage.

Day 10 update 12/10/21: A 24 mile ride, sees Simon only 12 miles from the end of stage 3 and shortly getting to Parkside Lodge MBU. 

Day 11 update 12/10/21: Another short cycle of 12 miles, keeping an average speed of around 22mph and sees stage 3 complete. Meeting with Parkside Lodge MBU today.

Day 12 update 13/10/21: Another quick 16 miles sneaked in. Meeting with MBU at Ribblemere meet on Sunday. Received a message of support from the MBU Bristol

Day 13 update 15/10/21: 342 miles in to the journey, around 40% of the cycle done. Another 26 mile ride competed tonight and 1038ft climbed, leaves just 24 miles to the end of stage 4 and the meet up on Sunday afternoon. Catching up with Kieran at Dad Matters Friday afternoon for a live Instagram.

Day 14 16/10/21: Stage 4 complete and an extra mile started on stage 5. Just about to go and have a small ride for today

Day 15 17/10/21: Another small 16 miles ridden, well into stage 5 and today should see Simon finish that stage. Simon met up with Karen and Andrew at Ribblemere MBU, it was really good to meet and hear the support they provide.

Day 16 18/10/21: Stage 5 complete and onto Stage 6. The next meeting is with Adele at Andersen ward, Wythenshawe MBU  on Tuesday, which represents the end of stage 5.

Day 17 19/10/21: Simon was able to get another 16 miles (climb of 912ft) done and get the total miles cycled up to 415m, just another 11 miles to go before he reaches half way. So he is on stage 6 heading towards the Beeches.

 

 

Brockington MBU staff climb Snowdon for APP

Brockington Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) provides an inpatient mental health services to women experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties related to the latter stages of pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

The Brockington staff climbed Snowdon on Saturday 2nd October 2021 to raise money for APP.

They say: “Any donation you can give, or even just a simple share of this fundraiser on Facebook, will help to change the lives of women affected by postpartum psychosis, as well as their babies and families”.

The team recently helped APP volunteer Gemma Vinter to plant 240 bulbs in the grounds of the MBU, which Gemma had sourced via donations from UK plant retailers. Gemma hopes that spending time outside with lots of lovely plants and flowers will encourage a little bit of “me time” to help the recovery of the patients, alongside the invaluable help and treatment that MBUs provide.

The Brockington MBU staff’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,200. We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff for supporting APP and to all who have donated.

You can still visit and donate to their GoFundMe page here.

If you have been inspired by the Brockington MBU Staff, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here

Our fab runners in this year's Virgin Money London Marathon

A huge thank you to our six amazing runners who took part in the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work; Jason Sales, Andy Rolfe, Sophie Raynor, Dave Orridge, Esther Land and Karen Lacey.

The Marathon took place on Sunday 3rd October, with 50,000 participants running on the streets of the capital, from Blackheath to The Mall.

On the same day, an additional 50,000 people had the chance to run a marathon distance wherever they were in the world by taking part in the virtual version of the event.

Jason says: "Brave women like my friend, APP Ambassador Laura Dockrill, have been coming forward to help break the stigma around mental health and postpartum psychosis. Ultimately, I’m doing this for all the mums out there as where would we be without them?” 

Laura says:“This is very important to know, the illness can corner you and tell you so many lies, that you’re alone, that you’re a burden, that nobody has felt this terrible, that you should feel guilt or shame - none of it is true. The bravest thing a person can do is ask for help, you’ll be met with open arms. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mum. And there’s no ‘bad’ time to feel unwell. Find APP for more information and support.” 

You can still visit and donate to Jason’s fundraising page here.

Andy ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon for APP in August earlier this year. He’s supported APP again as he says: "APP has supported me and my partner Em, as well as many other families like ours, through recovery from a mental health illness that strikes new mothers. Em spent three months out of the first six months of our daughter’s life in a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) suffering with postpartum psychosis (PP) and then postnatal depression (PND). APP has a support network in place that we have both used over the last few years as Em has recovered from the long term effects of this illness. I am proud to support them, proud to run for them, and proud of Em and what an amazing mother she is to our little girl."

You can still visit and donate to Andy’s fundraising page here.

Sophie is a student midwife and says: "After going through my own mental health struggles many know I’m passionate about speaking out and raising money for mental health charities and APP is a brilliant one to be supporting, helping women with postpartum psychosis. As a student midwife I identify even further with this charity and I think it’s so key for women to get the support they need with perinatal mental health issues as soon as possible so charities like this are essential and I’m proud to be running for them."

You can still visit and donate to Sophie’s fundraising page here.

 

 

Dave’s wife Esther experienced PP in 2017, and he says: “Not long after we welcomed our son to the world, my wife Esther developed a rare condition called PP. We’d never even heard about this mental illness that affects 1 in 1,000 new mothers. We’d only ever heard about postnatal depression - which is why it caught us both out of the blue. Thankfully with the professional support from the local NHS Perinatal Team, Esther recovered. I want to raise awareness of PP and APP which specifically supports new mothers (and their partners) with the condition.” 

You can still visit and donate to Dave’s fundraising page here.

 

Esther was a midwife for 18 years and qualified as a health visitor in 2018. She ran the virtual London Marathon for APP last year and is supporting APP again as she says: “APP is a charity close to my heart personally and professionally. We are in desperate need of a MBU here in North Wales and I am hoping to raise more awareness and highlight the need for such vital facilities for families experiencing postpartum psychosis”.

You can still visit and donate to Esther’s fundraising section on her Facebook page here.

Karen who is now a health visitor and a nurse lecturer experienced psychosis after the birth of her first baby 20 years ago and says: “My psychiatrist wanted to admit me to hospital, and I was desperate to be somewhere safe but with no access to an MBU I was allowed to stay at home as my partner took time off work to look after me and our baby. We had twice weekly psychiatrist visits and CPN support. Fast forward 20 years and there is still no MBU.”

You can still visit and donate to Karen’s fundraising page here.

Karen and Esther

Our six runners have raised more than £4,900 for APP. We would like to thank Jason, Andy, Sophie, Dave, Esther and Karen for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

If you have been inspired by our runners, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Michelle and Sinead’s 10 mile Paddle Board for APP

A huge thank you to Michelle Bell, one of APP’s volunteers, and her friend Sinead who completed a 10 mile paddle board along the River Thames near Oxford in September to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work.

Michelle said: “Around 10 years ago after giving birth I was hospitalised with postpartum psychosis (PP). I was initially admitted to an adult mental health ward and later transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit where my daughter stayed with me.

 

Michelle and Sinead started their paddle board on 12th September and paddled another stretch on 17th September. They completed the 10 miles on 24th September.

They had lovely weather on all days of the challenge, and saw lots of birds along the way.

Their fundraiser has raised more than £460. We would like to thank Michelle and Sinead for supporting APP and all who have donated

You can still visit and donate to their fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Michelle and Sinead, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

 

Alice’s ‘Olympic distance’ triathlons over twelve months

Alice Stroud, one of APP’s volunteers, is taking part in five triathlons over the next twelve months working towards the Olympic triathlon distance, to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Alice has never done a triathlon before, and the first event she is taking part in is on 25th  and 26th September 2021 at Hever Castle.

 

Triathlon is an endurance sport that combines swimming, road cycling and distance running, performed in that order. Events are conducted over a variety of distances but the 'Olympic distance' for men and women is a 1,500-metre swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run. The race is completed with no breaks from start to finish.

Alice experienced psychosis twice during pregnancy in 2019 and into 2020, and said; ‘"APP offered peer and group support along with information to me and my family, which helped me stay focused and feel supported. The first face to face group (Covid-19 delayed) was such an important environment to discuss mine and my family’s journey.

Raising money can help others have the opportunity and support to enable their recovery and I will therefore swim, cycle and run as far as I can get to the Olympic distance triathlon goal in the next 12 months."

Below is a video of Alice at her first triathlon;

Alice’s fundraiser has already raised more than £1,600. We would like to say a huge thank you to Alice for supporting APP and to all who have donated so far.

You can visit and donate to Alice’s fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Alice, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here

Amy runs the Great North Run for APP

A huge thank you to Amy Shaw who ran the Great North Run on Sunday 12th September 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Amy’s sister-in-law Katherine experienced PP in 2020 and was hospitalised for four months during lockdown. Katherine, her husband, Amy and some other friends are planning a number of different runs, of which Amy's challenge on 12th was the first.

Katherine said: This time last year in the height of lockdown I lay in a hospital bed in Brockington Mother and Baby Unit thinking my life would never return to normal, and I would never feel like myself again. One year on and I proved myself wrong. I spent a time being cross that no one talks about things that could happen postpartum, I was so scared. I did not understand my illness and felt very alone in what I was experiencing.

APP’s Insider Guides and leaflets really helped me to understand what had happened to me, and reading other women’s stories was a great comfort, helping me to realise I was not alone. When I was lost and scared Amy sat at my feet, held my hand and told me I would find me again.”

You can read more about Katherine’s story here.

After the run Amy said: “It was a really good day and I was pleased with my time of 2.17 hrs which is a Great North Run and half marathon personal best for me.”

Amy’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,770. We would like to thank Amy and Katherine for supporting APP, and everyone who has donated.

You can still visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Amy, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Our three fabulous runners in this year's London Landmarks Half Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge thank you to our three amazing runners who took part in this year’s London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) on Sunday 1st August to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work; Andy Rolfe, Kirsty Curtis, and Emma Polhill.

The LLHM takes in some of the capital's world-famous landmarks on closed roads in central London and is the only half marathon to go through both the City of London and City of Westminster. The race started by The Strand, and finished by Downing Street and included views of London’s most iconic landmarks including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye. With 11,000 runners the atmosphere and support on the route was joyful. Not to mention the incredible fancy dress: from the Spice Girls, Bagpuss, a wind turbine(!), penguins and much more…

Andy says: "I ran this half marathon to raise awareness and funds for APP, who have supported my family ever since my partner Emily was admitted to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for psychiatric care in 2017.

Thanks to the wonderful NHS staff and APP support she has made a full recovery, and our family is healthy and happy. Since recovering, Emily has started volunteering for APP, sharing our experiences with new MBU staff and other medical professions. APP has developed an online community for those affected by this illness and is working hard to provide support whenever and wherever they can.

This is the work I want to help continue, so that other families receive even better support than we did, and to minimise the impact of the illness on people’s lives."

After the event Andy said: ‘I'm really happy with the fundraising effort and all the people who backed me/contributed to APP. I had a pretty good run for most of the race, although it dropped off in the last few miles, so I ran in 1 hour 45 minutes in the end. Next stop is the full marathon in London in October which I am also running for APP’.

You can still visit and donate to Andy’s JustGiving page here.

Kirsty says: "When my daughter was just five days old I became very unwell with postpartum psychosis (PP). After a few months of feeling ok, or so I thought, I stopped the medication and had a relapse. This time the amazing perinatal team felt something else needed to be done so I was admitted to a MBU in Bournemouth to recover. As hard as it was being away from my husband and son, I received amazing care for about four weeks.

During my recovery I found the amazing APP, which allowed me to meet others who have also been through PP, making me feel less isolated and alone. If it wasn’t for APP and the women I met through them, my recovery journey could have been a lot longer and harder.”

After the event Kirsty : “The race was really good, and the atmosphere was great. My time was 2 hrs 23 mins, roughly what I was aiming for so I was happy with the result. It was so lovely to meet Emma after the race and hopefully we will keep in contact with each other too. 

You can still visit and donate to Kirsty’s JustGiving page here.

Emma says: "After having my second son I was extremely ill with PP. I had never heard of PP before and only really understood what it was after a few months of being in an MBU where I had been sectioned for my own safety.

The recovery from PP is very long. One and a half years on, I feel like the old Emma is back. It’s been a long 18 months but I have had the most amazing support around me. The MBU, the Community NHS Teams and the Adult Mental Health Services have been amazing. I ran this half marathon for other women with the illness who are in need, I hope the donations can help other mums."

After the event Emma saidThe atmosphere was great and it was so nice to take part and meet Kirsty too.’ 

You can still visit and donate to Emma’s JustGiving page here.

Our three runners have raised more than £2,600 for APP.  We would like to thank Andy, Kirsty and Emma for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

If you have been inspired by our runners, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Emma and Kirsty