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 ).
Lynne Neagle, Assembly Member, chair of the committee and sponsor of the event, opened the launch by summarising the Welsh Assembly’s report and the future for perinatal mental health in Wales.
Sally followed with an eloquent and powerful talk about her personal experience of postpartum psychosis and the impact of lack of specialist services and a Mother and Baby Unit on her care and recovery. Sally talked about the fabulous parts of her care and the impact of some of the amazing people that supported her too. She called for: a Mother & Baby Unit in Wales; specialist services for those who need it; training in maternal mental health and postpartum psychosis for health professionals; and access to information and peer support for all. Sally left us - a room full of campaigners, MPs, health professionals, policy makers, and academic researchers - in no doubt about the difference these services would make for families in Wales. Sally volunteers for APP as a Postpartum Psychosis health professional trainer, peer supporter and regional rep.
Next up, Sarah outlined the key findings from the report which included barriers to identifying perinatal mental health problems, the progress of specialist perinatal mental health care in Wales, third sector provision in Wales, how we can support families affected by perinatal mental health problems, and highlighted a number of recommendations. A panel discussion included Professor Ian Jones (Trustee of APP & Director of NCMH), which centred on the great progress that has been made in Wales in the last few years and what the main priorities are in moving forward.
This was an important day for perinatal mental health campaigners in Wales. We raised a great deal of awareness of PP, distributed lots of PP information to health professionals, met some lovely women with personal experience who we hope to stay in touch with, and made important connections to begin to make a change for families in Wales.
APP would like to hear from anyone in Wales who has personal experience of PP and would like to join our Lived Experience network aiming to make changes for women and families affected by PP in the future. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org