In memory of Margaret Oates

Here at APP we have all been deeply saddened to hear of the death of the hugely inspirational Dr Margaret Oates.

A Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at Queen’s Medical College, Nottingham, Dr Oates made significant strides in perinatal mental health care, positively impacting many women and families in the UK and beyond. Indeed, so significant is her legacy that there are two MBUs named after her - one in Nottingham and one in East London.

Dr Giles Berrisford, APP Trustee said:

“Dr Margaret Oates OBE has been an enormous inspiration to many throughout her life. She dedicated her working life to improving the lives of women and families affected by perinatal mental illnesses. She recognised the importance of the obstetric pathway and the psychiatric pathway working together, so that no women are left behind. She led to the opening of the Mother and Baby unit in Nottingham which is now one of two eponymously named MBUs in England – the other being in Homerton, East London

Dr Oates worked tirelessly to influence national policy– changing and shaping maternal mental health forever. She was the 1st Chair of the Clinical Reference Group for perinatal mental health for NHS Specialised Commissioning, advising on how MBUs should be commissioned.

The expansion of services around the UK since 2016 is a direct legacy of Dr Oates’s inspirational work. She has inspired many to pursue careers and to develop services in perinatal mental health. We have a lot to be very thankful to Dr Margaret Oates for and she will be greatly missed.”

Dr Oates was the pioneer behind the sub specialty of perinatal psychiatry and set up the specialist faculty within the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was also responsible for developing the work of the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in relation to mental health, identifying the impact of mental illness on the mortality of women during pregnancy and into the postpartum period.

She also established a series of ‘red flag’ warning signs to enable healthcare professionals to identify women at risk of perinatal mental illness, and established the Perinatal Quality Network as part of the College Centre for Quality Improvement, embedding lived experience at the heart of the system.

Dr Jess Heron, APP CEO said:

“Dr Oates worked with the same zeal and dogged determination whether she was addressing care inadequacies for an individual woman or putting systems in place which would improve the care of all women with severe postnatal mental illness.

She worked hard to ensure that perinatal mental illness and suicide were included in the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths, giving us a clearer picture as to the devastating impact of PP - and other serious mental health problems - on the lives of women and families nationally.

Her advocacy and truly anarchic approach has undoubtedly saved lives, and we her legacy will live on for generations to come”.

Members of our volunteer community who have been personally supported by Dr Oates have also shared their words and memories, including Cheryl McAulay-Wainwright who said:

“I first met Margaret in 2004 when I was suffering with postpartum psychosis. Margaret was my consultant at the time and I will be forever be deeply grateful for the care that she provided me. Her smile was warming and made me feel safe and at home. It was during a time where I had lost myself - and she helped me find me again.
I went on to work within the Hopewood Mother and Baby Unit when it was first opened and was named after Margaret Oates. I was lucky enough to spend time working alongside her colleagues who would often talk about what a presence Margaret was and the huge developments she made for National Perinatal services and the care that women received.
I wouldn't be where I am today without the care that Margaret and her team gave to me.
Dr Margaret Oates OBE is a true inspiration and will be missed by the women and children she cared for and of course many more.”

Our thoughts are with Dr Oates’ family. We will never forget all that she has done in the field of perinatal psychiatry and beyond.

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New Year, New Challenge

There are so many ways you can challenge yourself for APP in 2023 – from skydives and bungee jumps to inflatable obstacle fun runs, marathons, duathlons, ultras, cycle rides and so much more!

You could get a group of friends, family or colleagues together and complete an event as a team, or go solo and take on a personal challenge.

We now have access to hundreds of races, fun runs, jumps, rides and other events all over the country (and even overseas if you fancy it!)

Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking…

  • Winter Warmer runs – 5k, 10k and half marathon options taking place throughout February in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Richmond, Milton Keynes.
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10k or half marathon – 5th March - a road closed half marathon and 10k starts and finishes at the home of the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Colchester Zoo Stampede 10k – 14th May - a unique opportunity to run a 10k that starts in the heart of the Zoo - between the rhinos, elephants, giraffes and zebras!
  • Hull Half Marathon - 11th June - This new half marathon features a thrilling city centre start and finish and a largely flat course, offering great PB potential.
  • ASICS London 10k – 9th July - Dash past iconic central London sights Big Ben, the London Eye and the River Thames in a 10K race to remember.
  • Hillsborough Castle & Gardens Running Festival 5k and 10K – 24th July - one for our supporters in Northern Ireland, a closed roads event starting and finishing within the beautiful grounds of Hillsborough Castle.

Sarah, who completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon for APP last October said "I wanted the challenge of getting fitter, losing a bit of weight and regular running for good mental health.  What better way to achieve this than the challenge of a half marathon to raise money for APP, a charity very close to my heart. Two birds with one stone!"

Fancy a full length marathon?

We have access to places in loads of marathons including Barcelona, Brighton, Paris, Newport, Goodwood Motor Circuit, Manchester, Amsterdam, Leeds, Edinburgh, Chester and Yorkshire.

Debbie ran the London Marathon for APP in 2022 and had this to say about it: "The marathon was an amazing experience, one which is hard to describe due to all the highlights – from the support from family and friends, the other runners and the huge crowds shouting everyone's name to the feeling of achievement and thankfulness that it was over  It was fab to see APP in the crowds supporting my fundraising and to meet Fliss afterwards with another medal.  If you doubt your abilities to be able to take part in a challenge – just do it – you can do amazing things."

Cycling more your thing?

Brighton Marathon Bike Ride 2nd April - BM Ride 50km flat ride taking place on closed roads in the centre of Brighton & Hove – suitable for all levels and family friendly!

La Grande Aventure Cycle - 14th June ‐ 18th June - Amsterdam to Lille - Cycle for 4 days, across 3 countries, covering 225 miles, for 1 great cause.

Alice (pictured above) took on a massive challenge for APP in 2022 - she says: “Last year I completed five triathlons in support of APP, finishing with an Olympic distance at the London Tri. The experience of the support and hugging my daughter at the end and being reminded how far I’ve come in recovery was incredible.”

Something different?

Bungee - For anyone feeling brave enough, there are bungee jumps available throughout the year and in beautiful locations over the country - Whitby, Windsor, Bristol, Rotherham, Battersea, Cambridge, Salford, Tatton Park, Brighton, Glasgow, Birmingham.

Skydive - Fancy jumping out of a plane at 10,000ft?! Skydives take place throughout the year all over the UK – locations include St Andrews, Auchterarder, Errol, Coleraine, Swansea, Bridlington, Brigg, Durham, Lancaster, Grange-Over-Sands, Nottingham, Whitchurch, Cambridgeshire, Norwich, Brackley, Maidstone, Salisbury, Old Sarum, Honiton and Cornwall.

Katie, who completed a skydive for us last year said: 'It was absolutely amazing and you must do it once in a lifetime!'

Family Friendly?

Inflatable Fun Runs – 2.5k, 5k, 10k and 15k fun runs around a course involving 17 massive bouncy obstacles! One all the family can join in with. Events take place between April and October in Exeter, Guildford, Kent, Towcester, Leeds, St Albans, Bristol, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Cheshire, West Sussex, Edinburgh, Lincoln, Norfolk, Huntingdon, Warwickshire.


These are just a few of the hundreds of races and activities we have access to – or of course you can come up with your own challenge as part of our Miles for Mums and Babies campaign.

Registration fees and fundraising targets vary depending on the event, so let us know if you’re interested in any of these and we’ll give you the full details.

Got an idea already, ready to sign up, or want us to inspire you?

Contact – we’re here to support you through your training and to help you reach your fundraising goals.

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Early bird rate for 2023 APP Online Training in postpartum psychosis

Book now for this one-day training: Managing Severe Mental Illness through pregnancy and working with women and families affected by postpartum psychosis.

The training is led by APP's expert trainers, including:
• Professor Ian Jones (Professor of Psychiatry, leading academic in postpartum psychosis, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist);
• Dr Sally Wilson (National Training Lead at Action on Postpartum Psychosis);
• Dr Jessica Heron (APP Chief Executive and Senior Research Fellow in Perinatal Psychiatry at Birmingham University)

The workshop, held via Zoom, is suitable for any health professionals working with pregnant and postnatal women and families and draws upon cutting-edge research in postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder and the real experiences of women and families.

The course will develop your knowledge and confidence in identifying and managing risk, developing pregnancy and postnatal management plans, identifying early symptoms, and providing high quality support to women and families from pre-conception to recovery.

📆 Dates: Wednesday 15th February or Monday 27th March 2023
⏲️ Early bird rate: £165 until 22nd January (normal price £195)
🎟 Find out more and book:
✉️ If you have any questions, please email:

"I thought this training was absolutely excellent. It was invaluable to hear lived experience."

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Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year from all of us at APP

A message from APP's Chief Executive, Dr Jessica Heron:

"As 2022 draws to a close, I would like to thank all in our community for their support this year. In what has been a tough year for the nation’s mental health, it has been heartening to see our community pull together. Our fundraisers - which have included health professional teams, volunteers, those we support, as well as families who have lost someone to postpartum psychosis (PP) - have raised almost £65,000 to support our work.

With the help of our volunteers, we provided 1:1 peer support to 235. An average of 234 used our peer support forum each month. We set up new café groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland and worked with volunteers and Third Sector partners to campaign for a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for NI.

Our five NHS partnership projects provided peer support to more than 270 women and families early in their recovery journey. We extended our diverse communities outreach project with Zebunisa, Ramlah and Shaheda reaching out to Black, Asian and minority ethnic community groups with information about PP. As in previous years, 100% of peer support survey respondents felt less isolated and more supported, and 30% felt the service has saved their life.

2022 was also the year in which we: welcomed our newest Ambassador, author and literary agent, Catherine Cho; placed 30 national media pieces about PP; supported 42 research projects including studies of menopause, and a drug discovery study; launched our campaign for information about PP to be included in antenatal class education; and provided more health professional training through our one-day workshops and lived experiences speakers. Dates of our training workshops for 2023 will be released soon – email us to be the first to know and take advantage of our early bird rates: 

Our founding mission in 2011 was to reduce maternal suicides caused by PP, reduce the negative impacts of PP and improve outcomes. This year, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths found that despite increases in rates overall, postpartum psychosis now accounts for far fewer maternal deaths than in previous decades. APP’s survey into care also shows that women feel more satisfied with care, feel safer, with better informed health professionals, than in the previous decade.

I would like to thank all our staff, volunteers, trustees, donors and fundraisers for their hard work and continued support. The lifesaving services we provide are because of your hard work and generosity - your support means so much to us.

The climate for charities is increasingly difficult. We understand that not everyone can support us with donations, but if you are able to give, it will make a real difference to our work:

For some women and families, Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time, particularly for those with loved ones spending Christmas in an MBU or struggling with recovery. You are not on our own – APP’s peer supporters are available every day of the year via our Forum

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy festive period”. 


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Lee embarks on year-long challenge to raise awareness of PP

This month, our incredible fundraiser Lee Smith of Washington, Tyne and Wear, will embark on the first of twelve physically demanding challenges to fundraise for APP and raise awareness of postpartum psychosis.

Sadly, almost exactly two years ago, Lee’s wife, Jess, developed postpartum psychosis and was admitted under section to Morpeth’s Mother and Baby Unit in Northumberland.

Two years on, now fully recovered and a happy and healthy family of four, Lee and Jess are doing all they can to raise awareness and much-needed funds - and for Lee this means taking on twelve difficult challenges starting on Sunday 11 December.

Read Lee’s story below. A link to his Just Giving page can also be found at the bottom of the article.

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Sarah's Miles for Mums and Babies Walk

Sarah holding her babySarah Honeywood from Northumberland has chosen to take on a Miles for Mums and Babies challenge to help raise awareness of and funds for APP.

Sarah will be walking 305km over the next few months – which is a particularly impressive challenge when you find out that Sarah is a midwife, mum of a 1 year old and is trying to fit these kilometres in before her second baby is born!

Here Sarah explains why she chose 305km for this challenge and why APP is such an important cause for her:

‘305. Does that sound a lot? I suppose if you're talking about elephants it's a fair number, but if you're talking about grains of sand, it's hardly anything at all.

305 is the number of days I received support from the fantastic perinatal mental health team. This included a stay on the Beadnell Ward Mother and Baby psychiatric unit, outpatient care from the community mental health nurses and support from Action on Postpartum Psychosis. Knowing I wasn't alone during this time was so important and the comforting words of people who had been where I'd been was priceless, both in person and online.

The recurrence rate of severe perinatal mental health problems is conservatively estimated at 50%, so the decision to have more children wasn't an easy one. Knowing that HALF of the women who have had similar experiences to me go through it all again and that I am just as likely as not to end up in the same situation again is terrifying. If it wasn't for the knowledge that I'll be so well supported, Arthur might have been an only child. Come what may, I know that my Hillcrest/Northumbria colleagues, perinatal mental health team and support groups will be there to offer both peer and professional support.

For this reason I have decided to fundraise for Action on Postpartum Psychosis. The presence of their volunteers on Beadnell Ward and the brilliant resources they provide are invaluable and I'd love to help. However, as I'm not much of an athlete I'm going to be walking instead of running! My aim is to walk 1 kilometre for every day that I received care by the time the new baby arrives, so 305km in the next few months

I really hope that some of you can spare a few pennies so help APP continue their fantastic work and supporting families like mine to get through the most difficult period of their lives.’Sarah pictured outside under blue skies, smiling with her baby

Thank you so much Sarah for supporting APP and we’re wishing you all the best for your challenge, and with your new baby.

If you'd like to add your support to Sarah's Miles for Mums and Babies efforts, you can find her fundraising page here:

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Listen to APP’s festive playlist - and find out why we chose these popular songs

This Christmas, we want to raise awareness of some of the challenges faced by families affected by postpartum psychosis, as well as the hope and inspiration they found, by giving new meaning to our favourite festive songs.

Check out and enjoy the playlist below, and read personal stories of hope, recovery and love that relate to each song.

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Clover MBU take on the #MilesforMumsandBabies challenge!

A huge thank you to the wonderful team at Clover Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Winchester. They are taking on a #MilesforMumsandBabies challenge this November to help raise vital funds for APP.

A mighty team of staff, mums and dads at the MBU are aiming to run, walk and push buggies 428 miles during November. 428 miles represents the trip that one of their mothers and her family had to make between her home and Winchester MBU to receive care.

The team has been out in all weathers clocking up the miles and they've already raised nearly £700.  You can follow their updates on instagram at @clovermbu_winchester and  add your support here:

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Ways to support APP this festive season

There's lots of ways you can show your support for APP this festive season:

  • Host a festive Big Bake event with friends and family – for more info visit
  • Sign up to Amazon Smile – it’s free, won’t cost you anything extra, but we’ll receive a donation worth 0.5% of everything you buy – go to and select APP as your chosen charity.
  • Sign up to Give as You Live - visit: if you register and make three purchases before the end of 2022, we’ll automatically receive a £10 donation. Plus we get a small percentage of every sale – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
  • Buy your Christmas, Hannukah and other seasonal cards from Making a Difference Cards - All cards can be personalised with photos, names and messages, and you can buy them individually, in packs, as printed cards or as digital e-cards and there are options for businesses too. Browse the selection here:
  • Buy an APP voucher as a gift – struggling to think of present ideas for the person who has everything? Make a donation to APP in their name and we’ll send you a downloadable gift voucher for you to print and wrap for them for the big day.
  • Text APPXMAS to 70085 to donate £5. (Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text APPXMASNOINFO instead.)
  • Share our social media posts – every share helps us reach more people.

Thank you so much for your support.

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APP selected to receive a share of CharityJob's annual giving



We're delighted to announce that APP has been selected as one of the recipients of CharityJob's annual charitable giving initiative.

More than 700 charities applied for a share of the £100,000 made available by CharityJob, and only seven were chosen, with APP being awarded £15,000. The donation will go towards supporting mothers and families affected by postpartum psychosis through our peer support projects; our work around awareness raising and combatting stigma; and through developing and disseminating high quality, reliable information and training on PP for families and healthcare professionals.

Dr Jess Heron, APP's CEO said: 'This donation will make a real difference to the lives of mums affected by PP and their families. We know our peer support work changes and saves lives, with around a third of respondents to our recent survey saying they may not be alive if they hadn't found APP. It can be difficult to find funding for projects supporting severe maternal mental health illness, so we're very grateful to CharityJob for choosing APP for this award.'

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