Dr Ian Jones receives the Marcé Medal

In October this year over 500 researchers, health professionals and mental health advocates gathered at the biennial Marcé Society Conference in Pittsburgh, USA to share new research in the understanding, prevention and treatment of mental illness related to childbearing. The Conference was opened by US former first lady Mrs Rosalynn Carter and included over 140 talks related to perinatal mental health.

The Marcé medal is awarded every two years to an individual in recognition of a major contribution to the aims of the society. This year, we are very proud to announce that it was awarded to Dr Ian Jones in recognition of his research into Postpartum Psychosis. Ian’s keynote presentation was entitled “Postpartum psychosis: known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns”.

Dr Jones said “I am delighted that the work of our research group has been recognized with the award of the Marcé Medal. Postpartum psychoses are some of the most severe episodes seen in psychiatry. It is vitally important that we understand more about this condition, so we can develop better treatments and provide hope to women and their families.” Ian becomes president of the UK & Ireland Marcé Society this year.

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A tribute to Gaynor Thomas

Gaynor believed in making a difference. She was a passionate advocate for research, believing that we must do everything we can to understand puerperal psychosis and bipolar disorder: the condition that finally took her life. She was a “Research Champion” for the Bipolar Disorder Research Network (BDRN) and advisor to Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) making an invaluable contribution to our work. Gaynor featured in the Stephen Fry documentary “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” discussing the difficult decisions that she and other women face when considering pregnancy. Although the documentary was unable to do justice to our complex discussions, she believed that it was important that the issues were raised. She believed in better services for women making difficult choices regarding pregnancy.

Last year we chaired a workshop at the national MDF conference on pregnancy and childbirth. The room was packed and the discussion heated but when Gaynor spoke about her experiences, everybody listened. Al- though she was very unwell after his birth, it was obvi- ous to me that she was a wonderful and devoted moth- er to Thomas. Her untimely death reminds us that this illness can be cruel and heartbreaking. She became a colleague and friend to us at APP and will be greatly missed.

Ian Jones on behalf of APP

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