Eye On Wales: Sally & Jamie Share Their Story


APP volunteer, Sally and her husband Jamie bravely shared their story in an extraordinarily moving BBC Radio Wales Eye on Wales episode about Postpartum Psychosis. 

Our Trustee, Professor Ian Jones also features, explaining the condition and talking about the need for a Mother & Baby Unit in Wales. APP Peer Support Volunteer Anna, who supported Sally during her recovery, talks about our online PPTalk forum and 1:1 support.

Listen to the Eye on Wales Podcast here. The story also made the BBC News homepage

We are so grateful to Sally and Jamie, Ian, Anna, Kayley Thomas and the Eye On Wales team for producing such a brave, sensitive and powerful broadcast

Sally is also fundraising for APP with  her colleague Ruth, braving a Big Welsh Swim in Padarn Lake on 22 July. You can sponsor them here

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Personal Experiences of Talking About PP

APP's Peer Supporters and Volunteers hosted an hour-long chat on Twitter for Time To Talk day on 2 February 2017 around people's experience of stigma. The hour flew past, with lots of contributions and lively chat from different perspectives. We've gathered the best of the Tweets into this Storify and juggled them under topics to try and give a linear narrative. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to share your thoughts and comments on Twitter with us @ActiononPP.

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Could You Be Our Next Treasurer?

people-woman-coffee-meetingWe are looking for a Treasurer to join our board of Trustees and assist our award-wining small charity with robust financial management, planning and reporting.

The Treasurer will oversee the work of the Accountant and Book-keeper in partnership with the Director. They will be able to communicate the financial position to the other trustees and assist the organisation with risk management, forward planning. They will help create budgets for funding applications. 

We also wish for the Treasurer to be a key player on our Trustee Board and interested in helping assist our organisation through a period of change and growth.

This is a volunteer role. Ideally we would like the Treasurer to be able to commit 1-2 days a month of their time for APP work and to be responsive on email. Our team is distributed across the UK so phone and Skype meetings are important. In addition, board meetings are held quarterly in January, April, July and October in Birmingham.

If you think you might be able to help us, please get in touch. Send us your CV and tell us a bit about yourself: lindsey@app-network.org 

Download the role description here

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Time To Talk About PP & Stigma

tttd17On Time to Talk Day we want to talk about PP & stigma - what are your experiences of talking to others about PP? Have you experienced stigma? What have people's reactions been like? Good, bad, supportive or strange - we'd like to hear.
Join APP’s peer supporters and lived experience volunteers live on Twitter on 2 February between 8-9pm and look out for hashtags #timetotalk #PPtalk #endPPmyths.
Can't join us? Email your stories to app@app-network.org or tweet @ActiononPP in advance. 
Find out more about Time To Talk Day here. 

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Meet Our Amazing London Marathon Runner

KTDyerFor the first time, APP has been awarded a charity place in the London Marathon and we are thrilled to introduce you to our runner, Katie Dyer.

Please support and sponsor her here

Katie is running in memory of her dear friend Alice Gibson-Watt who passed away following complications connected with Postpartum Psychosis. Her daughter, Chiara, was five weeks old. Here's her story, in her own words:

"I am a 37 year old Mother of a little boy and until 2012 I  had no knowledge or awareness of Postpartum Psychosis. Despite being given information on Post Natal Depression during my pregnancy no one seemed to mention or discuss the possibility of this sudden and severe condition.

Alice and I had been friends since we were little. She was in fact my oldest friend, an unwavering constant in my life as we grew up together, and  it was with much excitement that we awaited the birth of her daughter, Chiara in October 2012. I had given birth a year earlier and couldn’t wait to share the experience of Motherhood with her, as I had all the other important moments in our lives from travelling around the world to planning our weddings. Whilst I tentatively warned her about the need to rest and the impact of sleep deprivation, I never dreamt to mention post natal depression nor did I even know about the possibility of postnatal psychosis. 

Four weeks after her daughter was born, Alice suffered a psychotic episode and further complications led to her passing away a week later leaving behind her devastated family, friends and a daughter who will never truly know just how wonderful her Mother was.
There is nothing positive about this situation or this mental illness. It is vicious, cruel and deeply unjust. On the morning I was told that Alice, my bright, beautiful, determined friend who had fought so hard to become a Mother, was in hospital with a bleak prognosis I felt an overwhelming urge to run. Running has a meditative quality that I discovered in my late 20s and I think has been essential to my own mental stability in times of stress. And so I ran that day trying to tell myself if would be OK. Unfortunately for Alice and those close to her; it was not.
However, in the spirit of Alice’s unquestionable strength and positivity, it is so important to remember that there is much to be done to ensure other families do not suffer in the same way. To this end, I am hugely honoured to be running the London Marathon for APP. The work they do to publicise, support and educate is vital to prevent further devastating losses and to provide essential life lines to sufferers and their families.
I will run in Alice’s name and all those who have suffered from this unjust and frightening condition."

You can support Katie's training and fundraising at her Virgin Money Giving page and save the date! The London Marathon is on 23rd April 2017 and we want as many APP supporters to be there to cheer her on as possible. 

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Postpartum Psychosis & Menopause on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

p0440gttProfessor Ian Jones and Val from APP discuss PP and menopausal relapse with Jenni Murray on today's Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Listen again here on iPlayer.

The long-term outlook after an episode of PP tends to be very good and women recover fully. However, some women who have had PP will have further episodes of illness unrelated to childbirth.

Just over half of women with Postpartum Psychosis will experience an episode of depression, bipolar disorder or related illness at some point in their lifetime. (This estimate includes women with and without experience of mental illness before their PP episode, and so the risk may be lower for women whose PP episode was ‘out of the blue’.) For more information see our research on recurrence rates or view to our survey of recovery in APP members.

It has been suggested that some women who experience PP may be vulnerable to relapse at times of major hormonal fluctuation, such as during the perimenopause (the time from the onset of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and irregular periods, until the menopause itself).  

A case series review of post-menopausal women with a history of PP, found that 30% reported an episode of illness (including depression or mania/psychosis) during the perimenopause. Strikingly, most women who relapsed during the perimenopause had been well during the years in between childbirth and the menopause. Further studies are needed to explore this potential risk period more fully and identify which women might be at risk of perimenopausal relapse. Women, their partners and families should be vigilant for signs of relapse during the perimenopause and seek help from their GP or mental health team should symptoms develop. For more information about relapse planning, see page 14 of our Insider Guide on Recovery after PP

APP is here to support women and families who suffer illness episodes following their PP, no matter how many years have elapsed since the PP episode. If you would like to talk to others with similar experiences and concerns, please visit our peer support forum or request email support. We are campaigning and conducting research to improve understanding of this illness. If you would like to help us, or to find out more about current studies, please get in touch. 


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Hannah attends #HopeDec09 for APP

czry6snxeaaicarIt was amazing to be at the House of Commons last week for the #HopeDec09 event, organised by obstetrician, Raja Gangopadhay, and attended by around 150 others with an interest, passion or professional role in perinatal mental health.

APP’s Chair, Giles Berrisford, opened proceedings in his role of Associate National Clinical Director PMH, reporting that things do seem to be changing and there is more awareness and profile than ever before, but of course, there is so much more to do.

It is always inspiring to hear Alain Gregoire of the MMHA speak and his words about maternal mental health and its far-reaching consequences being “the most important issue for humanity today” was really great to hear. 

I wish there had been more time to talk about APP and the amazing peer support it offers, together with our pilot Regional Reps work to spread awareness of the organisation and that PP can affect anyone, as it did me. This slide said a lot for me: "Full Recovery is Possible. Please seek help early. No-one is immune." 


The event focused on the importance of addressing mental health conditions during pregnancy and beyond and we heard from a diverse range of those with “lived experience” – it is so important to share these stories. PP and schizophrenia were powerfully presented by artist, Sanchita Islam and PND movingly by Lindsay Robinson of haveyouseenthatgirl.com and Mark Williams of Fathers Reaching Out Wales.

Antoinette Sandbach MP also had a number of people in tears as she spoke emotively about her experience of bereavement and the effect that this can have on women and families. The heads that nodded along (including my own), as if to say “me too” at various times during all of the speeches was really amazing to see.

It was fantastic that the whole of the UK and beyond was represented in the room, with people standing up to talk about changes in Scotland and the ongoing campaign for a Mother & Baby Unit in Wales. Lindsay had also spoken of changes she is working towards in Northern Ireland. As a proud Yorkshire lass, I enjoyed meeting up with others from the north – it is sometimes easy for us to be forgotten in the blur of all things perinatal and activity that naturally often centres on London and the other big cities. I had great conversations with another peer support organisation Raindrops to Rainbows, who are based in the north-east and supporting women and families affected by PND, so there may be ways for us to link in in the future. Our chats continued on the train north at the end of a long, exciting and inspirational day.

Words from representatives of the Royal Colleges of GPs and Midwives together with a former Royal Obstetrician and a response from the Duchess of Cornwall which was read to the room showed that the event had a really high profile. Together with those from the media and a range of organisations I hope that this really gave the event some clout to effect real change. I hear that it trended on Twitter throughout the day – surely the mark of success!

Hannah Bissett is APP's Assistant Peer Support Coordinator

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Making a Difference to Local Services

elliehannahsbuCongratulations to APP Peer Support Coordinator, Ellie Ware, who has been appointed to the Executive Group of the Sussex Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Network.

Sussex is one of 20 areas across the country which will benefit from funding to improve care for pregnant women and new mums experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health difficulties.

The Executive Group is intended to be the "driving vehicle for the perinatal mental health programme of work" and oversee delivery of outcomes. In other words, make sure that change happens and services improve. Ellie says:

"It's really exciting and a real privilege to be asked to be part of the Executive Group that will be developing the Sussex perinatal mental health service, which is my local service.
I hope to bring not only my own personal experience of PP -- what was good about my care and what could have been better -- but all the stories and voices of the women and families APP support."  
Sussex Partnership currently offers a Specialist Community Perinatal Service in Brighton & Hove and in East Sussex. The new funding will allow the team to expand and to provide specialist support to women, their families and their babies across the whole county – for the first time in West Sussex – and at East Surrey Hospital. 
Photo shows Peer Support Coordinators Ellie Ware (left) and Hannah Bissett (right) representing APP at London South Bank University Perinatal Mental Health for Healthcare Professionals conference in September 2017. 

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APP at Downing Street Reception for Small Charities

img_4110Fantastic recognition for the good work APP does!

APP Director, Dr Jess Heron, was invited to 10 Downing Street to attend a reception of small charities across the UK that make a big difference to people's lives.

The government recognises that the economic climate is hard for small charities and has pledged to find ways to help small charities doing good work become sustainable.

Dr Heron said "It's fantastic for our work and the amazing dedication of our volunteers to be recognised in this way. We know that we save lives and that we have caused a sea-change in public interest and understanding of PP, but it's great when it's recognised by others"

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Bethlem Royal Hospital Mother and Baby Unit Fundraising For APP

cake sale for Action on Postpartum PsychosisA big thank you to the staff from the Mother and Baby unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital who are in training for the Hampton Court half marathon in February 2017 and raising money for APP. They say:

"Working on a Mother and Baby unit, we are all very aware of the illness postpartum psychosis, as well as many other illnesses relating to women during pregnancy and after giving birth. We want to raise money for the amazing charity APP and support their work as well as raise awareness around mental health during pregnancy and after having a baby."

They have recently had a very successful cake sale to help towards reaching their fundraising target and have emailed us an update on their endeavours:

"Just wanted to share some photos with you from our cake sale. The fundraising is going well, so far we have raised nearly £500! We are planning to do a raffle for Christmas and of course sharing our JustGiving page for people to sponsor us for the half marathon."

You can support this wonderful team of people at their JustGiving fundraising page here.


cake sale for Action on Postpartum Psychosis
cake sale for Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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