"Funded by Big Lottery over the past four years, APP has changed the landscape of PP by increasing public awareness, improving patient information, and increasing the availability of support. Our research clearly demonstrates the positive difference our work has made to the lives of women and families affected by PP across the UK. It is vital that we build on the success of this project – there is so much more to be done.
With the help of our supporters, we will continue to improve public understanding of PP, its symptoms, and that recovery is possible; we will continue to improve access to information and peer support; we will continue to build our PP community to reduce isolation, alienation, guilt, and promote good recovery, in all women and families affected by PP; we will campaign and educate to ensure that all women, their babies and families are adequately cared for; and we will facilitate more research to understand the causes, impact, and treatment of this traumatic and family-shattering illness."
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Fern Britton joins mums and dads to speak out about Maternal Mental Health for Sport Relief.
- More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental health illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby
- Join the conversation from 11am Weds 24th Feb on Twitter @SPORTRELIEF using #MUMTALK
- Sport Relief cash to help people affected by maternal mental problems
As part of a series of new short films produced by Sport Relief, TV presenter Fern Britton will share her experience of maternal mental health alongside other mums and dads from across the UK, who have also been affected, on Wednesday 24th February.
The films will be shared on Sport Relief’s Twitter feed to shine a light on maternal mental illness in the UK and help to reduce stigma around the issue. The public will also be encouraged to share their stories and talk about their own experiences. Members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which benefits from Sport Relief cash, will be responding during the day to any people looking for advice or support.
By going to @SportRelief on the day, the nation will gain a unique insight into an issue that affects as many as 1 in 10 women yet is still a big taboo and not talked about openly. Many women feel completely alone and too embarrassed to share their true feelings, with 7 in 10 women affected hiding or downplaying their symptoms.
Without understanding, support, and treatment these mental illnesses have a devastating impact on the women affected and on their partners and families. However, with the right help at the right time women affected by maternal mental health problems do get better.
By giving women and men a platform to speak out about maternal mental illness, Sport Relief hopes to highlight what help is out there, and encourage more people affected to seek the support they need to recover.
Cash raised through Sport Relief has been helping to fund maternal mental health projects in the UK since 2010. These projects include the Bluebell Care Trust in Bristol, and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Everyone’s Business’ campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of maternal mental health issues at a national level and is helping women and families across the UK to access specialist support.
The contributors featuring in the films have been helped through Bluebell Care Trust and member organisations of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
Fern Britton said: “Everyone tells you that having a baby is going to be perfect, so you try to be the perfect mum. However, you're not blooming at all, you're blooming awful. I was lonely, isolated and frightened. I felt lost, like a failure and I couldn't identify with who I was anymore. When the doctor told me what I was feeling was Postnatal Depression it was so liberating, I felt such a sense of relief that I wasn't going mad. Once my family knew, I started to get better. Once I could talk to my family and they understood, it was a wonderful feeling.”
“The minute I said the words to someone, help it was there for me. If I had known how easy it was to get help I would have told someone sooner. Having been through this and getting better myself I would urge any mum who might be feeling in a dark place to tell someone - don't wait! If you tell someone, you will get help, and you will get better.”
The day is being supported by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Bluebell Care Trust, the Royal College of General Practitioners, MIND, Channel Mum who are following the stories @SportRelief and sharing their own views and insight using #MumTalk.
Dr Alain Gregoire, Perinatal Psychiatrist and Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said: “Being a parent is the most difficult thing any of us ever does and when we go through difficult times we need other people, but if we are not mentally well, we feel alone. Knowing you are not alone, that other people care and want to help, and knowing that if you speak out about how you are feeling you will get help, are crucial steps to recovery. Through this day of activity, Sport Relief is giving every one of us the opportunity to help mums and dads who are suffering from mental health problems at this critical time in their lives”
Sport Relief is back from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March and there are more ways than ever for you to take part, change lives and feel proud. The money raised will transform people's lives in the UK and across the world's poorest communities, including people affected by maternal mental health problems.
About Sport Relief
Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives, across the UK and the world’s poorest communities. It all leads up to the Sport Relief weekend and a fantastic night of TV on the BBC.
Sport Relief 2016 will take place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March 2016. You can run, swim, cycle or even walk yourself proud at events across the country. There's a distance for everyone, whether you're sporty or not. Find out more at www.sportrelief.com
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The Prime Minister announces almost a billion pounds of investment to enhance mental health services across the country.
- £290 million to provide specialist care to mums before and after having their babies
- first ever waiting time targets to be introduced for teenagers with eating disorders and people experiencing psychosis
- nearly £250 million for mental health services in hospital emergency departments
- over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as safe and effective alternative to hospital
Dr Jessica Heron, Senior Research Fellow in Perinatal Psychiatry at Birmingham University and Director of Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), which provides information and support to women and families affected by the condition, says:
"APP Action on Postpartum Psychosis welcomes the Government’s announcement today of £290 million investment to provide specialist mental health care to mums before and after having their babies. This funding is desperately needed to help women suffering from maternal mental ill health, their partners and families, and improve health outcomes. The serious shortage of Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) nationally is a real concern in particular, and we hope the investment will help address this. Admission to an MBU allows mothers to keep their babies with them during treatment. Research conducted by APP on women with Postpartum Psychosis, a severe form of maternal mental illness affecting 1-2 births in every thousand, shows that women admitted to specialist MBUs report improved experience of care, feeling safer, more confident in the staff, more informed about their illness, feeling better supported on recovery, experience reduced time to full recovery, and feel more confident with their baby on discharge from care, than women admitted to General Psychiatric units. Yet nationally there are only half as many places in MBUs as needed. A report from the London School of Economics in 2014 estimated the costs of not having an adequate maternal mental health service at approximately £8 billion a year."
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“Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Surveillance of maternal deaths in the UK 2011-13 and lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009-13”
Prof Ian Jones, Director, National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University and Vice-Chair, Perinatal Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“For every woman who dies, there are many more who are near misses. The strength of the methodology used is the detailed review of all cases of maternal death in the UK and the depth of information gathered. We can therefore learn lessons that apply more broadly to mental health services not just to those for women in the perinatal period. The findings of the current report are consistent with previous reports and with current knowledge - what is sobering, however, is despite similar findings over the past decade we do not seem to be learning the lessons.
“As with previous reports the latest confidential enquiry into maternal deaths emphasise the importance of good mental health to women at this time. It is vital that the messages are heard and the lessons are learnt - not only by specialist perinatal clinicians but mental health teams more generally, in addition to antenatal services and primary care. A number of ‘red flags’ are described which need to be recognised and responded to. The findings of the report remind us that pregnancy and childbirth are not for all women times of joy but may herald episodes of severe mental illness. We must ensure that women with mental illness in the perinatal period, where ever they live, have access to the specialist services they need.”
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From May to October here at APP we were busier than ever. In brief here are some highlights:
Three day residential PP Art Workshop, Devon. A group of 13 women with experience of PP travelled to the beautiful area of Dittisham to explore, through art, the experience of Postpartum Psychosis. This provided a great opportunity to meet each other, discuss their PP experiences and to translate memories and emotions into Art. Read more about the workshop and see the beautiful work produced and the wonderful feedback from those who attended here>Read full news item
APP attended the Birmingham Mother & Baby Unit annual review at the Barberry, Edgbaston, on 14th Oct to meet with recovered service users and to hear about the great work being done. The focus of the review was service development and to provide a format for service users to feedback ideas for taking things forward.
The day was hosted by Giles Berrisford (Chair of APP) and Catherine Beard (Friends of the Mother & Baby Service) with guest speakers including clinicians, professionals and service users talking about their personal experiences using the services. Throughout the day we heard interesting and thought-provoking presentations about a study of 'Men's experiences of Postpartum Psychosis requiring MBU admission' and ‘Perinatal services from both sides of the fence’ - a personal Postpartum Psychosis story by a trainee GP. After a light lunch with plenty of time for mingling, other sessions included ‘The voice of Dads’, ‘bonding Interventions’ and ‘Meet the Staff’.
It was a friendly, informative and constructive day and an excellent example of collaboration and engagement with service users to continue developing, improving and growing services.
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Join us on 27th November at The Pavillion, Derby, DE24 9HY for this wonderful charity fundraiser. For tickets Tel: 0844 477 0601 or email email@example.com
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APP attended The Perinatal Mental Illness Conference /Elaine Hanzak's Conference and book launch 'Another Twinkle in the Eye' -Considering a second pregnancy after Postnatal Illness, 23rd Sept, Manchester. There were around 150 delegates at the event, including Midwives, Health Visitors, Consultants and women who have recovered from severe PND and Postpartum Psychosis.
It was a very full day with moving talks from women and fathers sharing their personal experiences. APP Trustee, Niclola Muckelroy shared her story of PP and recovery. Some of the topics covered were Perinatal Psychiatry, birth experience, communication, bonding & attachment and creativity and included sessions by organisations such as Family Action, Smile, PSS?, The Marce Society, EFT. It was an excellent and moving day with plenty of opportunity to network with other organisations and women who've experienced PP, many of which were keen to work more closely with APP and become APP Volunteers and Regional Representatives.
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She is one of four nominees shortlisted and invited to attend the Royal College’s awards ceremony at their London headquarters on 10th November.
This award recognises the significant contribution service users make to developing and improving mental health services. The judges were looking for nominees who had made a positive impact on services by improving the perception of mental health issues; encouraging change in mental health policy; and contributing to the training of mental health professionals.
Clare comments, “I’m delighted to have been nominated for this award by members of the Royal College in recognition of my work with the wonderful charities Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) and Bipolar UK and my involvement in the Maternal Mental Health Alliance campaign to improve perinatal mental health services in the UK”.
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