Current and Past Presidents of the Royal College of Psychiatrists come together to highlight Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Call to A.C.T. - call postcode lottery of services ‘a disgrace’.
The current and past Presidents of the Royal College of Psychiatrists today jointly welcomed the launch of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Everyone’s Business campaign and their Call to A.C.T. Professor Sir Simon Wessely (President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) and Professor Dame Sue Bailey (Chair of the Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) and Immediate Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) said:
“It is a disgrace that although one in ten mothers will develop a mental illness either during or in the first year after pregnancy, half of the women in the UK do not have access to specialist community perinatal mental health services. The current postcode lottery of provision means women are left to suffer, families risk breakdown, children suffer and society suffers. It is frankly unacceptable that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and one year after birth.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Everyone’s Business campaign which calls for Accountability for perinatal mental health care to be clearly set at a national level and complied with, for Community specialist perinatal mental health services meeting national quality standards to be available for women in every area of the UK and for Training in perinatal mental health to be delivered to all professionals involved in the care of women during pregnancy and the first year after birth.
“We are pleased that the RCPsych Faculty of Perinatal Psychiatry was able to assist the Alliance with its mapping of current services, and we will lend whatever advice or support is needed by those at the helm of health policy in the four nations for them to act to address this iniquitous and unjustifiable variability which penalises women – wives, partners, daughters and friends - at their most vulnerable. By improving the health (and there is no health without mental health) of any woman you improve the lives of their children, generations of children to come, and it leads to more flourishing communities.”
#everyonesbusiness Campaign Launched Today
Pregnant women and new mothers across almost half of the UK do not have access to specialist perinatal mental health services, potentially leaving them and their babies at risk, according to data released today (8 July).
Maps highlighting the gaps in provision are published today by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance to mark the launch of its everyonesbusiness campaign.
The Alliance of professional bodies, patient organisations and charities, is warning that women who develop a perinatal mental illness are missing out on essential and potentially lifesaving care.
World First: Highest number of women with lived experience of Postpartum Psychosis come together under one roof!
Following the event we received many messages from attendees expressing how much meeting other PP women face to face meant to them and how much they got from the day on so many levels. Here’s one of them:
"I wanted to drop you all a few quick lines to say simply "Thank You!" for last Saturday at the Barberry. It was the first time I had attended an APP event & most importantly for me, the very first time I had met another living, breathing mother who had also experienced Postpartum Psychosis!! I now truly understand I have not been alone in this long old journey & this was an incredible feeling, very special indeed. I want each of you to realise that what you have achieved so far is worth every single minute & hour of effort that I understand must go into running that kind of Workshop. Thank you so very much." ~ E.G.
On her blog 'Bumps and Grind', Kathryn writes about coming along to the Volunteers Event & also her experience of receiving support via our PPTalk online forum.
University of Adelaide researchers have found that women on antidepressants are more successful at breastfeeding their babies if they keep taking the medication, compared with women who quit antidepressants because of concerns about their babies' health.
These results have just been presented this week at the 18th Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Annual Conference in Perth. Using data from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark, researchers in the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute studied the outcomes of 368 women who were on antidepressants prior to becoming pregnant.
"We found that two thirds of the women (67%) stopped taking their antidepressant medication either after becoming pregnant or during breastfeeding," says Dr Luke Grzeskowiak from the Robinson Research Institute.
"A third of the women (33%) continued to take antidepressant medication throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and these women were much more successful at maintaining breastfeeding up to and beyond the recommended six months.
"In contrast, those women who had stopped taking antidepressants were also more likely to stop breastfeeding within the recommended six months."
Dr Grzeskowiak says the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medication.
“This is a really important message ... on the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother”
"This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression," he says.
"The amount of antidepressant medication that finds its way into a mother's breast milk is very low. On the balance of it, we believe that continuing to take antidepressant medication and maintaining regular breastfeeding will be the best outcome for both the baby and the mother."
Dr Grzeskowiak says many women struggle with decisions about what to do with medications both during pregnancy and lactation.
"If they're taking antidepressants, they should be supported and encouraged by family members, friends and healthcare professionals to continue with their medication, knowing that good breastfeeding outcomes are all-important for them and their child," he says.
This research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation.
Here at Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), we have been working towards developing online resources and an information leaflet for the partners of mums who have suffered Postpartum Psychosis, offering information and support for them during an episode of PP.
Over 80 partners of APP members have completed a postal survey and 12 men have taken part in telephone interviews about their support needs during PP - thank you! Last year we held a small focus group with partners to develop an outline for our web resources and we have now produced draft web and leaflet content.
In March 2014, we are planning to hold a workshop for partners. We are looking for partners who want to help us finalise our resources. We need partners to review and comment on the web and leaflet content, their design and presentation and ways that they can be promoted. We would also like partners to help us create a short videos aimed at other men in a similar situation, and photos / images to go alongside the web and leaflet materials.
The workshop will be a day session and is likely to be held on a Saturday at the University of Birmingham. Food will be provided and all transport expenses will be refunded. We hope it will be a great opportunity for partners to meet other partners who have been through similar experiences, and help us make the situation better for others in the future.
If you are a partner and you might be willing to consider coming along to this workshop or would like to use your IT, marketing or artistic skills to help us in any other way, please get in touch. It’s not a commitment at this stage, we aim to find out how many people might be interested in our workshop.
Professor Jones, who is Deputy Director of the research centre and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, was awarded the Psychiatric Academic / Researcher of the Year prize at a ceremony held at The Royal Society of Medicine in London.
The awards mark the highest level of achievement within psychiatry, and are designed to recognise and reward excellent practice in the field of mental health.
Kings College London is trialing a questionnaire assessing the perceptions of perinatal mental health services developed in collaboration with those who have used their services. The study: Improving the therapeutic environment on inpatient wards, requires patient contributions to the evidence base on inpatient care.
They require people to complete the survey and give feedback to enable them to fine-tune it before it is used in an upcoming nationwide trial investigating such services. Taking part will help develop an important tool that will be used to improve the care women receive in the future.
Can you help? It should only take 10 minutes and all results are anonymous.
If you are happy to complete an additional survey after 5-10 days’ time, please enter your phone number at the end of the survey. After completing both surveys, you will be entered into a prize draw for a £100 Love to Shop voucher as a thank you.
Please read the Patient information sheet here»
Once you have read the patient information sheet, click here to complete the survey»
UPDATE: Recruitment of participants for this study is now closed. Thank you to everyone who kindly took part. We look forward to seeing the findings.
The role of relationships in Postpartum Psychosis (unusual experiences during the postpartum period)
- Have you been given a diagnosis of Postpartum Psychosis (puerperal psychosis)?
- Would you be willing to talk about your relationships with important people in your life in relation to these experiences?
I am a trainee clinical psychologist at Lancaster University and I am currently carrying out research into the experiences of women who have lived through a period of mental distress after childbirth, and their significant others. I want to learn about the role of relationships during and after this experience. I hope that my findings will help staff in Mother-and-Baby units to work with the families and friends of women and continue to improve the services that women receive.
I would like to talk to women who have experienced Postpartum Psychosis and someone important to them (you can choose who this is – perhaps it could be a partner, mother, sibling or friend?) Both of you would need to be 18 years old or over. If you fit the above criteria and are interested in sharing your experiences, please contact me to find out more.
Tel: 0785 251 6566
Specialist Mental Health Midwives have a crucial role in effective perinatal mental health care. However, there are currently many maternity services without this important position, and where Specialist Mental Health Midwives do exist there are differences in their role, skills and experience.
This document produced by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance aims to help address this gap, by explaining why Specialist Mental Health Midwives are needed, and what they do. It is intended as a resource for maternity managers and commissioners looking to introduce or strengthen the Specialist Mental Health Midwife role in their local service. We hope that it will aid discussions and lead to improvements in local provision.
Eight volunteers with lived experience of PP came together from across the UK to attend a Peer Support workshop on 12th Oct. The day was momentous, memorable and a success on many levels. It was a real pleasure to meet and work with so many passionate and dedicated people. Thank you to everyone who gave up their free time and made the big effort to attend. We’re proud and grateful to further expand our PPTalk team with such a wonderful, inspirational group of volunteers!