The Big Bake

A HUGE thank you to the teams at the Morpeth Mother and Baby Unit, Exeter Mother and Baby Unit and the Pennine Specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Team who held our first #APPTheBigBake events this week!

All the teams raised vital funds for Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) and awareness of postpartum psychosis while having a great time and enjoying some delicious bakes!

At Beadnell Ward, Morpeth Mother and Baby Unit, APP's Morpeth peer support team have been baking with the mums. Our sessional peer supporter Kerry has enjoyed making lovely cakes (the pink cupcakes pictured) and a sunny walk with the mums. Baking is always a popular activity and we hope you agree that the finished results look delicious too!

Do you fancy holding your own Big Bake event? Get in touch and we'll send you your free The Big Bake pack.

Find out more: www.bit.ly/APPTheBigBake

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New Women’s Health Strategy for England - Government pledges to improve services for perinatal mental health and menopause.

APP has contributed to a Government call for evidence to inform the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England which was published on 20 July 2022. We asked the Government to ensure that the strategy improved the lives of women affected by postpartum psychosis through continued investment in specialist perinatal mental health services, prioritising research into PP and improving support for women with PP during the menopause. We welcome these pledges, however committed funding is needed and we will continue to campaign for the needs of women with PP to be addressed in implementing this strategy.

Perinatal mental health services

“The package includes £100 million for bespoke parent-infant relationship and perinatal mental health support. We are increasing provision of specialist community perinatal mental health services, which provide care and treatment for women with moderate to severe or complex mental health needs, and support the developing relationship between mother and baby. They also offer women with mental health needs advice for planning a pregnancy. The Long Term Plan commits to at least 66,000 women with moderate to severe or complex perinatal mental health needs having access to specialist community care”

Research

A recent study found that although affecting 20% of women, perinatal mental health receives only 4% of all research investment in pregnancy. The Women’s Health Strategy sets a 10-year ambition that “there is more research into women’s health issues – for example, gynaecological conditions, menstrual health, fertility, pregnancy, menopause and post-reproductive health – which leads to a greater understanding of conditions that impact women and how we can meet women’s health needs”.

Menopause

The Government has set a 10-year ambition that “women can access high-quality, personalised menopause care within primary care and, if needed, specialist care in a timely manner, and disparities in access to menopause treatment are reduced” and that “healthcare professionals in primary care are well informed about the menopause, and able to offer women evidence-based advice and treatment options, including HRT and alternatives”

APP welcomes The Women’s Health Strategy for England pledge to invest £100 million in community perinatal mental health services and parent-infant support. We continue to campaign for equal access to MBU beds across the UK.

Changes to the Mental Health Act - what do they mean for women with PP and their families?

APP took part in a Government consultation on changes to the Mental Health Act in January 2021. The Mental Health Act is the legal framework for detaining a person for mental health treatment (being “sectioned”). As PP can escalate quickly and women with PP may lack capacity to make decisions about their own treatment, many women are admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

A draft Bill was published in July 2022 and we are pleased to see the following changes which are especially relevant to families affected by PP

  • There is a greater focus on patient choice and autonomy in making decisions about what treatment they would want if they should lose capacity.
  • Patients can draw up an ‘advanced decision’ which explains their treatment preferences, and appoints a ‘nominated person’ to advocate for these treatments if they are detained. This can be a partner, family member or friend. The advanced decision is valid if signed by the patient, nominated person and a health professional.
  • Any admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act should have a clear therapeutic benefit.
  • Patients needing to be detained can no longer be held in a police cell or prison when waiting for assessment.

APP highlighted that we believe a perinatal mental health professional should be consulted in decisions to detain a woman with PP. In our experience, other mental health professionals may not be aware of the level of risk in PP, and the way that symptoms can ‘come and go’ in the early stages of the illness. This means that a woman may be assessed as having capacity or low risk when this can quickly change - causing delays to the urgent admission she needs.

APP also stressed that women with PP should always be admitted to a specialist Mother and Baby Unit as these provide specialist skills and a clear therapeutic benefit for the whole family unit. We believe that the separation of mothers and babies in general psychiatric wards goes against the principles of the new Mental Health Act.

We are very grateful to families with personal experience of bereavement due to PP who courageously shared their experience with us to include in our submission to the Government.

APP welcomes the new draft Mental Health Bill which protects the rights of women with PP who are sectioned to treatment with ‘clear therapeutic benefit’. APP has advised that all admissions under Mental Health Act for women with PP should be to a MBU.

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Author Catherine Cho announced as APP charity ambassador to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis

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

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Sisters challenge themselves for APP

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.

Laura with her GN10K medal in front of the Tyne Bridge

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:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-kirkpatrick3

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-long15

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Jenny and family's fundraising for APP 10 years on

Jenny Stevenson and a team of family members spent a month clocking up some ‘Miles for Mums and Babies’ 10 years after Jenny experienced postpartum psychosis (PP).

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.

JennJenny pictured with her mum, son, sister and brother in law, all wearing purple APP t shirtsy 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.

 

 

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The Big Bake for APP

The Big Bake

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 fundraising@app-network.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

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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.

baby asleep on a person wearing an APP t shirtWe'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.

You may also be interested in our ‘The Big Bake’ campaign that we’re running alongside The Big Give – find out more here...

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'Pom-ti pom pom!', a mindful crafting session on Thursday 30th June, 7.30pm-9pm

You are invited to join 'Pom-ti pom pom!', a mindful crafting session on Thursday 30th June, 7.30pm-9pm.

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!"

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Chamomile MBU Team take on Snowdon for APP

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 uniChamomile MBU Teamt 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!

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Dads chat webinar, 12.30-1.30pm, Friday 17th June 2022

 

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

International Fathers’ Mental Health Day

Dad Matters

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