We are delighted to announce that author and literary agent, Catherine Cho, is now an official APP ambassador.
Inferno: A Memoir of Motherhood and Madness, Catherine’s critically-acclaimed book about her experience of postpartum psychosis (PP), was published in 2021, providing readers with a poetic, honest and raw account of the illness and inspiring hope in recovery.
Catherine, who was shortlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, joins APP ambassadors poet, author and illustrator, Laura Dockrill (who experienced PP in 2018), and her husband, Hugo White (a musician and record producer, formerly of The Maccabees), to raise awareness of the illness.
PP is a severe and debilitating postnatal mental illness, triggered by childbirth, affecting 1,400 women in the UK and 140,000 women in the world each year. Half of all cases occur ‘out of the blue’ - with women having no history of mental illness. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression, restlessness, anxiety, confusion, and unusual behaviour. With the right treatment, women can make a full recovery.
Catherine said: “It is important for me to become an APP ambassador, because it is so important to be open about postpartum psychosis. Maternal mental health, particularly postpartum psychosis, is something that holds so much stigma and shame, which makes it even more of a frightening and isolating experience. I hope that I can help APP in sharing my story and the stories of others. When I was in the midst of recovery, I couldn't imagine becoming well, but it was in finding this community and the kindness of others who were so open in sharing their stories that I could begin to hope that this would, one day, be a story from my past.”
Jess Heron, CEO, Action on Postpartum Psychosis said: “Catherine has already done so much to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding PP, not only through her book, but also through speaking in the media and at events. We are delighted to formalise and celebrate Catherine’s role with us, recognising the vast amount of work she continues to do.
“Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK. If we are to reach government targets of halving maternal deaths by 2030, more needs to be done. Women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities report poorer experiences and barriers to care. Catherine’s networks and storytelling will help our charity deepen the discussion around the culture, community and stigma in the experience of PP, and begin to influence support for women affected by PP in the UK and around the world.”
APP is a collaboration between inspirational women with lived experience, world-leading academic researchers and specialist health professionals. Hosted by The University of Birmingham, APP runs an award-winning UK-wide peer support network, including a forum with over 2,800 users sharing experiences and receiving support; develops comprehensive patient information; trains frontline professionals; manages four NHS partnership contracts providing direct support to women in Mother and Baby Units; conducts awareness raising media work and facilitates research into the causes and treatments of the illness.
The charity also regularly works with authors, playwrights and screenwriters to raise awareness and tackle stigma, including supporting the publication campaigns of both Catherine and Laura’s memoirs. APP has supported a range of other fiction and non fiction books that explore postpartum psychosis including: A Secret Never to Be Told by Alison Cobb, Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran and Are You Really OK by Stacey Dooley.
APP has supported a wealth of research on PP and will this year be publishing results of its second 10 year survey of care for PP in the UK, comparing Mother and Baby Units to General Psychiatric Units, and the charities’ 10 year impact report.
Read more about Catherine’s story here
Laura Kirkpatrick and her sister Helen Long are undertaking several challenges this year to raise funds for APP. They have completed a Tough Warrior event, Laura has run the Great North 10K and both of them will be running the Great North Run in early September.
'I experienced postpartum Psychosis after the birth of my second child Lucy. She was 6 weeks old when I was admitted to the Beadnall Mother and Baby Unit in Morpeth. It was there that I received excellent support from the APP peer support worker Sharon Bell. Sharon was there to support me and my family, speaking often on the phone with my mum to help ease her mind that I was going to recover. She was always there for me when I needed someone to talk to and she was very reassuring and supportive. It was also reassuring looking at the information on the website and reading stories from other mums who had suffered and recovered from postpartum psychosis.
To raise money for APP my sister and I completed Total Warrior in June which was hard but really fun! We will also run the Great North Run in September. We wanted to raise money for APP to ensure they can continue to provide the support to other mums suffering with postpartum psychosis and we have raised over £1400 between us so far.'
Thank you so much to both Laura and Helen for taking on these challenges and thank you to everyone who has donated to support them so far.
You can read more about their stories and support Laura and her sister Helen here:
Jenny experienced PP after the birth of her first son, Toby, in 2012. Admission to the Brockington Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Stafford, prompt specialist treatment, and good support from family and friends all aided a relatively quick recovery. Peer support, via APP’s online forum and reading personal experiences and stories on APP’s website, subsequently played a huge role in helping Jenny to come to terms with what had happened. Jenny attended an APP volunteer event the following year and trained as a peer support volunteer at the beginning of 2015. She is now working as one of APP’s National Peer Support Coordinators.
Jenny wanted to mark the 10 year milestone by raising some money and awareness for APP. She decided to take on a ‘Miles for Mums and Babies’ fundraising challenge between the dates she was an inpatient on the MBU (exactly one month) in 2012. The initial target was to jog and walk 37 miles during the month, the distance from her home to the MBU. With help from family members, the hope was to double this distance and cover the return journey.
Over the course of the month, Jenny’s team (Jenny, Toby, Jenny’s mum, sister and brother-in-law) jogged, walked and swum 375 miles between them. Each mile completed as part of this challenge reflects the journeys mums, babies, partners and families travel to be together, whilst mums receive care in Mother and Baby Units. 375 miles reflects five return journeys from Jenny’s home to the MBU in Stafford, a journey travelled by her husband every day during her stay.
The team raised £1275 for APP and by asking people to donate via the Big Give, which match-funded donations during the month of July, APP received double this amount – a total of over £2500.
Jenny says, “I’m delighted to have raised so much money for APP and that the money raised via the Big Give will be used to help grow the peer support service. Peer support is vital to so many women and families affected by postpartum psychosis – I see first-hand the positive difference it makes.”
Jenny is pictured here with her mum Sharon, son Toby, sister Juliet and brother in law Stephen.
Dust off your aprons and pick up your wooden spoons – we have a very exciting opportunity for you this summer and we'd love you to be part of it.
APP have been selected to be part of The Big Give campaign as part of their Women & Girls fund. This means that throughout July, every donation we receive via our campaign page on The Big Give website (www.bit.ly/APPTheBigGive) will be doubled!
As part of this we’re encouraging our supporters to take part in The Big Bake for APP!
Get together with friends or colleagues this summer and hold an awareness-raising cake sale, bake off competition, coffee morning or afternoon tea in aid of Action on Postpartum Psychosis.
Your support could help give a cake and a cuppa to a mum at an APP peer support café group.
We'll provide you with a FREE pack full of fundraising tips, ideas, APP goodies and even some of our favourite recipes! Plus during July, any donations you raise through your event will be worth TWICE as much – so if you raise £50, APP will receive £100.
Our target is to reach £5,000 in donations – meaning a total of £10,000 raised. This would make such a difference to our work – we are particularly keen to increase our offer of peer support - establishing more face to face café support groups, particularly in areas of the UK that are currently underserved. We’d also like to try and reach and support more women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; and to provide additional support for partners and parents of women who develop postpartum psychosis.
We know our peer support service is vital, life changing and in some cases life-saving - giving women and family members with experience of PP the opportunity to meet and talk with others.
“It has been life changing for me. I don't feel isolated at all, if anything, I feel proud to be part of this unique community of amazing, strong women and proud of everything we have been through.”
APP Peer Support beneficiary
Ready to get baking? Drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you more details and your fundraising pack so you can get started!
Not got time to bake? Might you be able to give us a direct donation instead? All donations made through our Big Give campaign page will be doubled! Donate here: www.bit.ly/APPTheBigGive
Double the donation, double the impact!
We’re very excited that APP have been selected to be part of The Big Give campaign as part of their Women and Girls fund 2022.
This means that throughout July, every donation we receive via our campaign page on The Big Give website (www.bit.ly/APPTheBigGive) will be doubled, thanks to match funding from the DCMS’ Tampon Tax.
So, if you’d like to donate to APP during July, we would be so grateful – and your donation would have DOUBLE the impact – you donate £5, APP will receive £10; you donate £25, APP receives £50 and so on.
Our target for the month is to reach £5,000 in donations – which would mean a total of £10,000 raised. This would make such a difference to our work – and we are particularly keen to increase our offer of peer support - setting up more face to face café support groups, particularly in areas of the UK that are currently underserved. We’d also like to try and reach and support more women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; and to provide additional support for partners and parents of women who develop postpartum psychosis.
We know our peer support service is vital, life changing, and in some cases, life-saving - giving women and family members with experience of PP the opportunity to meet and talk with others.
We're so grateful for your support – we are a small charity, and as such every single donation we receive really does make a big difference to the work we do.
If you aren’t able to donate more at the moment, we totally understand – but please do share our campaign with others if you can.
That link again is www.bit.ly/APPTheBigGive - only donations through that page will be doubled. You can also find shareable posts on our social media feeds.
This friendly workshop will take place virtually over Zoom, led by APP volunteer Claire Griffiths. Join us and learn the really handy and satisfying technique of how to create lots of gorgeous fluffy pompoms in one go!
Find out more and reserve your free place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/app-workshop-pom-ti-pom-pom-tickets-348112001367
Claire says: "I suffered from Postpartum psychosis (PP) in 2016 following the birth of my daughter, I work part-time as a crafts facilitator and throughout the pandemic delivered crafts workshops to people isolated at home via zoom.
I find crafting to be the perfect mindful activity to get some time for myself away from the bustle and stress of family life and I found making things to be a helpful part of my recovery from PP early on. I love to share these skills with other people and I love the idea of sharing them and spending some time virtually crafting together with other mums who've suffered PP.
Pom-poms are such a joyful little thing to create and you will be able to make many using the technique I am going to share; you can then make them into anything you please!"
Good luck to the Chamomile Mother & Baby Unit team from Birmingham who are taking on an epic challenge to help raise funds for APP this weekend - a team of 30 staff from the unit will be attempting to summit the highest mountain in Wales - Mount Snowdon!
Plasters, insoles and plenty of snacks are packed and the team (which includes APP trustee Dr Giles Beresford) are raring to go!
Keep an eye on our social media feeds for updates during the weekend and you can show your support for their amazing efforts here - they're so close to their fundraising target! www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chamomile-mbu
We're really excited to see how they get on and can't wait for pictures from the summit! Wishing the whole team lots of luck!
APP Dads chat webinar
12.30-1.30pm, Friday 17th June
Join us for a lunchtime chat about postpartum psychosis and dads' mental health with:
- Simon O'Mara, APP Partner peer support coordinator
- Hugo White, APP Ambassador
- Professor Ian Jones, a world-leading expert on postpartum psychosis
- Mark Williams, organiser of International Fathers’ Mental Health Day
- Guest hosted by Kieran Anders from Dad Matters
Free, book ahead or just drop in: https://APPdadschat.eventbrite.com
This session will be recorded. Register for the event and we will email the recording afterwards.
In partnership with
We are deeply saddened by the tragic news about Orlaith Quinn in Northern Ireland. Our thoughts are with Orlaith’s family at this awful time. Our peer supporters are here for family members and anyone else who has been affected by postpartum psychosis.
Postpartum psychosis affects 1-2 in every thousand women who give birth in the UK. It should always be treated as a medical emergency and the recommended care involves immediate access to a specialist Mother and Baby Unit - of which there are currently none in Northern Ireland.
Sadly, there still isn’t enough awareness of postpartum psychosis - not only amongst the general public, but also amongst health professionals. This needs to change. Around half of women who experience postpartum psychosis have experienced no prior mental illness. Spotting the signs can be life-saving.
Action on Postpartum Psychosis works with health professionals to provide short training sessions that can significantly impact early diagnosis - helping professionals know when, where and how to signpost to specialist services. We also have a wealth of information available online to anyone who needs to find out more about the illness and its symptoms.
If postpartum psychosis is diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately, women make a full recovery from this severe and life-threatening illness.
Find out about Action on Postpartum Psychosis training for health professionals.
Read about Action on Postpartum Psychosis research and campaigns.
A team of 17 from Uned Gobaith Mother and Baby Unit in Swansea Bay, Wales, have completed their APP #MilesforMumsandBabies Challenge this month - covering over 1000 miles between them during May.
In their first week they covered over 300 miles, initially doing the majority of them separately but they went on to organise a series of group walks - with a team of them even making it to the top of Pen Y Fan - the highest peak in South Wales!
Bethan Williams, Nursery Nurse at the unit, has been keeping us updated on their progress.
She says 'It's been lovely for us all getting out in the fresh air and has been a great team building activity, we have all enjoyed encouraging each other. Between us we have walked, run, cycled and ridden 1018.4 miles across Wales, England, Norway and Greece. We have had a number of group walks and our children and pets have enjoyed joining in with us.
We are thrilled that we have raised over £1,200 for APP and are looking forward to taking part in more challenges over the years. It has been a lovely event for us to do to celebrate our first year as a team.'
Huge congratulations to the team on their amazing achievement and a massive thank you from all at APP!
You can still show your support for them at: www.justgiving.com/team/TeamTonnaTrekkers