The Prime Minister announces almost a billion pounds of investment to enhance mental health services across the country.
- £290 million to provide specialist care to mums before and after having their babies
- first ever waiting time targets to be introduced for teenagers with eating disorders and people experiencing psychosis
- nearly £250 million for mental health services in hospital emergency departments
- over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as safe and effective alternative to hospital
Dr Jessica Heron, Senior Research Fellow in Perinatal Psychiatry at Birmingham University and Director of Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), which provides information and support to women and families affected by the condition, says:
"APP Action on Postpartum Psychosis welcomes the Government’s announcement today of £290 million investment to provide specialist mental health care to mums before and after having their babies. This funding is desperately needed to help women suffering from maternal mental ill health, their partners and families, and improve health outcomes. The serious shortage of Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) nationally is a real concern in particular, and we hope the investment will help address this. Admission to an MBU allows mothers to keep their babies with them during treatment. Research conducted by APP on women with Postpartum Psychosis, a severe form of maternal mental illness affecting 1-2 births in every thousand, shows that women admitted to specialist MBUs report improved experience of care, feeling safer, more confident in the staff, more informed about their illness, feeling better supported on recovery, experience reduced time to full recovery, and feel more confident with their baby on discharge from care, than women admitted to General Psychiatric units. Yet nationally there are only half as many places in MBUs as needed. A report from the London School of Economics in 2014 estimated the costs of not having an adequate maternal mental health service at approximately £8 billion a year."
“Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Surveillance of maternal deaths in the UK 2011-13 and lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009-13”
Prof Ian Jones, Director, National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University and Vice-Chair, Perinatal Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“For every woman who dies, there are many more who are near misses. The strength of the methodology used is the detailed review of all cases of maternal death in the UK and the depth of information gathered. We can therefore learn lessons that apply more broadly to mental health services not just to those for women in the perinatal period. The findings of the current report are consistent with previous reports and with current knowledge - what is sobering, however, is despite similar findings over the past decade we do not seem to be learning the lessons.
“As with previous reports the latest confidential enquiry into maternal deaths emphasise the importance of good mental health to women at this time. It is vital that the messages are heard and the lessons are learnt - not only by specialist perinatal clinicians but mental health teams more generally, in addition to antenatal services and primary care. A number of ‘red flags’ are described which need to be recognised and responded to. The findings of the report remind us that pregnancy and childbirth are not for all women times of joy but may herald episodes of severe mental illness. We must ensure that women with mental illness in the perinatal period, where ever they live, have access to the specialist services they need.”
From May to October here at APP we were busier than ever. In brief here are some highlights:
Three day residential PP Art Workshop, Devon. A group of 13 women with experience of PP travelled to the beautiful area of Dittisham to explore, through art, the experience of Postpartum Psychosis. This provided a great opportunity to meet each other, discuss their PP experiences and to translate memories and emotions into Art. Read more about the workshop and see the beautiful work produced and the wonderful feedback from those who attended here>
APP attended the Birmingham Mother & Baby Unit annual review at the Barberry, Edgbaston, on 14th Oct to meet with recovered service users and to hear about the great work being done. The focus of the review was service development and to provide a format for service users to feedback ideas for taking things forward.
The day was hosted by Giles Berrisford (Chair of APP) and Catherine Beard (Friends of the Mother & Baby Service) with guest speakers including clinicians, professionals and service users talking about their personal experiences using the services. Throughout the day we heard interesting and thought-provoking presentations about a study of 'Men's experiences of Postpartum Psychosis requiring MBU admission' and ‘Perinatal services from both sides of the fence’ - a personal Postpartum Psychosis story by a trainee GP. After a light lunch with plenty of time for mingling, other sessions included ‘The voice of Dads’, ‘bonding Interventions’ and ‘Meet the Staff’.
It was a friendly, informative and constructive day and an excellent example of collaboration and engagement with service users to continue developing, improving and growing services.
Join us on 27th November at The Pavillion, Derby, DE24 9HY for this wonderful charity fundraiser. For tickets Tel: 0844 477 0601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
APP attended The Perinatal Mental Illness Conference /Elaine Hanzak's Conference and book launch 'Another Twinkle in the Eye' -Considering a second pregnancy after Postnatal Illness, 23rd Sept, Manchester. There were around 150 delegates at the event, including Midwives, Health Visitors, Consultants and women who have recovered from severe PND and Postpartum Psychosis.
It was a very full day with moving talks from women and fathers sharing their personal experiences. APP Trustee, Niclola Muckelroy shared her story of PP and recovery. Some of the topics covered were Perinatal Psychiatry, birth experience, communication, bonding & attachment and creativity and included sessions by organisations such as Family Action, Smile, PSS?, The Marce Society, EFT. It was an excellent and moving day with plenty of opportunity to network with other organisations and women who've experienced PP, many of which were keen to work more closely with APP and become APP Volunteers and Regional Representatives.
She is one of four nominees shortlisted and invited to attend the Royal College’s awards ceremony at their London headquarters on 10th November.
This award recognises the significant contribution service users make to developing and improving mental health services. The judges were looking for nominees who had made a positive impact on services by improving the perception of mental health issues; encouraging change in mental health policy; and contributing to the training of mental health professionals.
Clare comments, “I’m delighted to have been nominated for this award by members of the Royal College in recognition of my work with the wonderful charities Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) and Bipolar UK and my involvement in the Maternal Mental Health Alliance campaign to improve perinatal mental health services in the UK”.
Back in September 2014 it felt like a good idea to try a 70.3 Ironman and take the opportunity to raise some more money for APP.
I injured my neck and shoulder in a race crash in Geneva and had made it worse by going into the ditch avoiding a tractor a week before Dublin.
If this report doesn't sound like I enjoyed most of the race then it's accurate – I'd been to a sports physio and an osteopath the week before but the level of pain I was getting from my neck and shoulder meant that at every stage of the race I was telling myself, “I'll just do this next bit and then drop out”.
We would like to say a very big thank you for all the support we’ve received over the past month with our National Lottery Award campaigning.
Sadly, we came a very close 2nd to the winning project with just 106 votes between us. Despite this, we had an absolutely fantastic campaigning month and have reached a massive audience we wouldn't normally have had the opportunity to. The exposure given to Postpartum Psychosis among the general public, midwives, health visitors, GPs, psychiatrists worldwide and also on a more personal level among families has been an incredible success.