APP Director, Dr Jess Heron, and APP Wales Volunteers Sally Wilson, Sarah Dearden, Charlotte Harding & Barbara Cunningham attended the launch of the NSPCC Cymru / Wales report Bumps to Babies: Perinatal Mental Health in Wales. The excellent report, written by Sarah Witcombe-Hayes and supported by NSPCC, National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), Mind Cymru, Mental Health Foundation and Maternal Mental Health Everyone’s Business Campaign, examines the experience of women who suffer pre and postnatal illness in Wales. It makes a number of recommendations, adding weight to the findings in the report by the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee (Perinatal Mental Health in Wales, October 2017 ).
APP is seeking a part-time peer support facilitator with lived experience of postpartum psychosis to support women in the new mother and baby unit in Chorley, and in the community in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
The Peer Support Facilitator position will be home-based (with time in Ribblemere Mother & Baby Unit, Chorley and travel around the Lancashire and Cumbria regions), part-time (2.5 days a week) for a 24 month fixed term contract, with possible extension for a further 3 years.
As part of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, and on World Maternal Mental Health Day, APP was invited to the Sheffield Perinatal Mental Health Service 'Perinatal Get-Together' on 2nd May 2018.
We learned of the amazing news that NHS England will be funding perinatal mental health services across all of England within the next year, which will end the postcode lottery for accessing the right support.
APP is looking for a Treasurer to help with robust financial management, planning and reporting. The Treasurer will oversee the work of the Accountant and Book-keeper in partnership with the Director and Operations Manager.
A new study 'Qualitative exploration of the effect of a television soap opera storyline on women with experience of Postpartum Psychosis' has just been published about the impact of EastEnders' award winning Postpartum Psychosis storyline on women with personal experience of PP, by medical student Lewis Roberts working with APP.
The research explored how the storyline and concomitant increase in public awareness of postpartum psychosis have been received by women who have recovered from the condition. Nine semi-structured, one-to-one interviews were conducted with women who had experienced postpartum psychosis. Thematic analysis consistent with Braun and Clarke's six-step approach was used to generate themes from the data.
The results showed that public exposure provided by the postpartum psychosis portrayal was deemed highly valuable, and its mixed reception encompassed potentially therapeutic benefits in addition to harms. The research highlights the complexity of using television drama for public education and may enable mental health organisations to better focus future practices of raising postpartum psychosis awareness.
APP trustee Clare Dolman reports on her PhD which some APP members kindly contributed to.
If you’re a woman with bipolar disorder and you’re contemplating having a child, there’s quite a lot to consider. We now know from research (often conducted with the help of Bipolar UK members) that about 50% of women with bipolar are likely to have some sort of episode during pregnancy or postnatally. But 20-25% of women with bipolar will suffer a postpartum psychosis (PP), which is a more severe episode which requires emergency treatment and usually a stay in hospital.
Though these statistics may seem alarming, it’s important to recognise that a) there’s a 75% chance you won’t have a PP and b) if you’re unlucky and do, PP usually responds very well to treatment and you can get back to being a great mum to your baby very soon. When I suffered a PP after the birth of my daughter, it was an advantage that I already had a diagnosis of bipolar because both I and my husband knew within days of the birth that I needed psychiatric help – whereas it often goes unrecognised for a long time in women without a diagnosis, thus giving the condition more time to get worse. I had to go to hospital for five weeks and stop breastfeeding so I could restart my lithium, but I never lost the bond with my daughter and, once home, quickly re-established a routine of caring for her.
With thanks to funding from Comic Relief, our Peer Support Coordinators, Ellie and Hannah, and Director, Jess, were able to travel to Bristol to meet with members of the Bluebell peer support team, to share ideas and hear about each other’s projects, both of which are funded by Comic Relief.
On 3rd February 2018, APP held another successful Peer Support Volunteer training day at the fantastic Bluebell Place in Bristol. It is amazing to have the new volunteers up and running to ensure our Peer Support Service can continue meeting demand from mums and families affected by PP, both on the PPTalk forum, and in 1:1 messaging.
APP were delighted to be invited to take part in the Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s ‘I’m Fine’ perinatal mental health training events earlier this year. The three ‘I’m Fine’ training days took place in various locations throughout Devon and Cornwall and were aimed at any front line staff who might come into contact with a women in the perinatal period to understand how to manage people respectfully and assist them; to recognise that when women say ‘I’m fine’ they might not in truth mean this.