New café groups
We’re delighted to announce the launch of two new peer support café groups for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis (PP):
On 22nd July, we’ll be holding our first online meet-up for Muslim women who have experienced psychosis in the perinatal period. The group will be run by Zebunisa and Ramlah from APP’s diverse communities outreach team for Muslim women to share experiences of PP, make new friends as well as find and offer support.
Zebunisa says: “I’m very much looking forward to meeting Muslim women who have been through postpartum psychosis. It’s a topic which isn’t discussed or mentioned enough and hopefully by meeting we can help raise awareness of mental illnesses such as PP following childbirth”.
Ramlah says: “I had PP back in 2014, after the birth of my first child. I am a British African Muslim woman with two beautiful children who I love dearly. Mental health is an open conversation I enjoy being a part of; I hope you are willing to come along and join us in this zoom call.”
APP’s first UK-wide café group meeting will be held on 5th July. This friendly, informal meet-up on Zoom is for anyone who has experienced psychosis in the perinatal period, no matter where they live in the UK. To join, sign up on Eventbrite.
We already run nine regional café groups around the UK which meet virtually and face-to-face throughout the year. The groups are attended both by those newly recovering from PP and those who may have recovered many years ago. If you are interested in joining any of the groups – in Wales, Sussex & Hampshire, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, North East & North Cumbria, Lancashire & Cumbria, Birmingham and London - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also run a virtual peer support group for dads and co-parents. It meets on the third Wednesday of every month and is for people who have supported a partner through PP. Our grandparents group meets approximately six times a year. If you would like to be on the mailing list for either of these groups, please email email@example.com.
New mother and baby unit
Plans for a new Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) - a specialist in-patient treatment unit where mums with mental illness are admitted with their babies - have been announced by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The eight-bed unit will be opened in Chester to support new and expectant parents across Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales.
APP’s National Training Coordinator, Dr Sally Wilson, is working with the Cheshire, Wirral and North Wales NHS teams to ensure the voices of lived experience are heard throughout the whole development process, as well as ensuring the unit helps to meet the needs of families from North Wales.
APP has long been campaigning for more MBU beds in the UK. We’re delighted that this new MBU will improve provision, enabling more mums and babies to stay together. There is work to be done to ensure that this is truly an accessible unit for women in North Wales including Welsh-speaking women and their families.
In many parts of the UK it is still the case that mothers and babies are forced to travel miles for treatment or that mums can be separated from their baby for treatment on an adult psychiatric ward. You can read more about APP’s campaigning for MBUs in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Scotland and add your voice here.
Richard's epic ride
On Monday, the incredible Richard Baish and his team of friends, will set off on a 475-mile, 5-day bike ride from Glasgow down to Oxfordshire. Richard is undertaking this challenge in memory of his wife Alex. He has already raised more than £37,000 so is well on his way to his £50,000 target.
His aim is to ensure healthcare professionals, antenatal educators and parents-to-be are made aware of the signs, symptoms and risks of PP, in the hope that no other families will have to go through what they have. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done already, and we’re all wishing him well on his ride – look out for updates on our social media feeds next week.
Dads and co-parents support
Chris, one of APP’s dads and co-parents peer supporters, took part in a podcast to share his experience of postpartum psychosis from the partner's perspective.
Chris spoke to Dr Rachel Davies, Clinical Psychologist at the Maternity Mental Health Service, for the Southern Health podcast.
Please note, this story talks about the trauma of postpartum psychosis very openly from a dad's perspective. Please take care if these are difficult topics for you at this stage in your recovery.
As Chris describes, PP is a hugely traumatic experience, not just for the women who develop it, but also for their partners and families. APP has produced an information guide for partners available here.
We are also hosting a specialist online training session: Supporting Dads and Co-parents on 14th July for health professionals and anyone interested in learning more about the impact of PP on families. The session will be delivered by the APP team along with dads and co-parents who have been affected by postpartum psychosis; share research related to the impact of PP on partners, as well as better understand the support needs of dads and co-parents.
For more information and to book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Give - big thank you
A huge thank you to everyone who supported our Big Give campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week – to everyone to donated, and to those who shared our emails and social media posts. We hit our £5,000 target by 8pm on Saturday – nearly two days ahead of the deadline. This will make such a huge difference to our dads and co-parents support project, which is so vital for families affected by PP.
111,000 people reached during Maternal Mental Health Awareness week
The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness week ran from 1st to 7th May, engaging people throughout the world. APP shared content each day and ran events, including Laura Dockrill’s fabulous creative writing workshop, Peer Support sessions reaching the international community, and a research webinar in collaboration with the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), Birmingham University’s Institute of Mental Health and the University of East Anglia.
Thank you to everyone who shared our posts – our social media activity reached more than 111,000 people during the week.
We also launched some brand new resources:
A free online toolkit for antenatal educators to support the delivery of information about PP in classes, and our postpartum psychosis signs and symptoms poster available as a free A4 printed poster and as downloadable social media graphics.
Both have been very well received:
“Just wanted to say that your awareness campaign is great. I do talk about postnatal psychosis with my antenatal class parents-to-be but I know a number of them ‘switch off’ when we try to discuss scary subjects. I have supported one family where the mother developed PP”. - Antenatal class provider
“Thank you so much for these downloadable resources. I'm an NCT antenatal teacher and have been spending 5 mins on PP since you encouraged us to, but these resources will help make the message clearer”. - NCT antenatal teacher
British Medical Journal paper on maternal deaths
A new BMJ paper highlights the need for Government action to ensure that all health care professionals are trained to identify and manage risk of suicide in the perinatal period. An early release of MBRRACE data for 2019-2021 shows that suicide continues to be a leading cause of death, accounting for 8% of all those who died in the first year after birth. Suicide due to postpartum psychosis can be prevented through early detection of the illness, rapid access to specialist inpatient treatment in a Mother and Baby Unit and support services (including peer support) through to full recovery and beyond.
Through NHS consultations this year, APP will call on the UK Government to make training in postpartum psychosis mandatory for all health professionals and first responders who come into contact with new parents. Lives can be saved by ensuring all parents are aware of postpartum psychosis antenatally and training all professionals to recognise symptoms and access urgent specialist treatment.
The report highlights the continued inequalities in perinatal suicide rates - with social disadvantage and multiple adversity increasing risk significantly. It is vital that our training reaches professional groups working in disadvantaged communities and that we continue to grow our communities outreach work.
Health professional training
We were delighted to deliver our first face to face APP workforce training day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic COVID earlier this month with the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (pictured above).
APP’s training is suitable for any professionals working with pregnant and postnatal women and families and draws upon cutting-edge research in postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder and the real experiences of women and families. Our courses develop knowledge and confidence in identifying and managing risk, developing pregnancy and postnatal management plans, identifying early symptoms, and providing high quality support to women and families from preconception to recovery.
Booking for the next online workshop on Wednesday 15th November is now open on Eventbrite.
Workforce training days can also be commissioned by individual NHS Trusts for their teams. If you would like to learn more about APP’s training offers email email@example.com.
If you’re a keen photographer in the Manchester area, could you give APP a couple of hours of your time?
We’re looking for someone to take some high-quality pictures of a training event we’re holding on Saturday 8th July.
Please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you could help. Thank you.
News from regional projects
- On Wednesday 22nd March, Lucy - one of APP’s Northern Ireland based volunteers - ran an awareness-raising session at a women’s group which was attended by local women as well as health and social care professionals.
APP staff talked about our work and the need for a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland volunteer Tara shared her experience of PP with the group, many of whom were previously unaware of the condition. Their feedback included:
“…it’s such a hard thing to talk about. It’s helped me understand a lot better and what to keep an eye out for.”
“…she is amazing and to be able to come and speak about her experiences so honestly will truly help women as there is still stigma around mental health.”
Further sessions for other teams of professionals and women are being planned for Northern Ireland.
Please follow and share our campaign posts for an MBU in Northern Ireland on social media using the hashtag #MumBabyTogetherNI. You can read more about APP’s Northern Ireland campaigning here and if you have experienced PP and live in NI, get in touch.
- MMHA week Friday 12th May - Annette and Liva (pictured above), from APP’s Lancashire and South Cumbria project, attended an event at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for Maternal Mental Health Awareness day alongside Dad Matters, The Reproductive Trauma Service, maternity services and other organisations. A great opportunity to chat to with health professionals and share ideas about maternal mental health.
- Mother and Baby Unit Open Day Saturday 13th May - APP joined Ribblemere’s open day held at the partner house on hospital grounds for families who had previously been at the MBU. It was lovely to see how well the mums were doing and how much the babies had grown. There was face painting, a treasure hunt and lots of tea and biscuits!
- Birmingham-based Peer Support Facilitator, Soukaina, showcased APP’s work at the Chamomile MBU’s recruitment day on 22nd May. Around 200 people visited the event where Soukaina was able to talk about her work providing peer support to women, their partners and families at the MBU as well as across the community teams we work with in the Birmingham and Solihull area.
Media and books
Jocelyn, APP’s Peer Support Facilitator, talked about her work supporting mums at Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit in Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s experience of care week newsletter.
APP’s National Training Coordinator, Sally, explains why it is so important for families to have access to Mother and Baby Units in an article for Wales Online.
APP Ambassador, Catherine Cho, and Diverse Communities Outreach Worker, Zebunisa, talk to CNN about PP for a series on gender inequality.
Zebunisa talks to Tommy’s Pregnancy Hub about postpartum psychosis and antenatal education
Hannah, APP's National Coordinator for NHS Contracts and Regional Projects, spoke to Rochdale Online about the launch of our new partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) to provide peer support at Andersen Ward Mother and Baby Unit.
APP’s Book Club will be meeting on Wednesday 21st June to talk about Lucy Nichol’s new book, Snowflake: Breaking Through Mental Health Stereotypes and Stigma. Book your free place on the Zoom meet-up here.
Fabulous fundraisers Flora and Mollie (pictured right) took part in the Hackney Half Marathon last Sunday, raising an awesome £3,439 for APP. They were inspired to run by their best friend who was diagnosed with PP after the birth of her son. They trained hard, had a brilliant day and crossed the line together – thank you so much to both of them.
If you feel inspired to take on a running challenge – email us email@example.com – we have access to places in events all over the UK, including the London Landmarks Half, the Robin Hood Half, the Yorkshire Marathon, Cardiff Half, Great South Run and the Great Scottish Run, to name just a few. Get in touch if you fancy it!
It’s been our busiest May ever for Miles for Mums and Babies, with individuals and teams taking part all over the UK, covering hundreds of miles and raising thousands of pounds for APP. You can find a mini round up here, read about Becky’s epic walk here (pictured above), Justine and team’s (pictured below) Cavehill Climb here; Nottingham MBU’s family walk here, Jenny Wren’s Rattle & Rhyme group five mile buggy push and toddle; the nationwide BleepKind team smashing their 400mile challenge; plus keep an eye out for lots more updates at the end of the month.
Look out for those purple APP t-shirts if you’re out and about – in the last few weeks they’ve been spotted at the top of Scafell Pike (sported by our amazing fundraiser Lee) and at Trentham Gardens (worn by the fabulous Georgina and Chris – pictured right) Let us know if you see one of our purple tops out in the wild!
Over the next few days you might have an even better chance of spotting one than usual as so many fundraisers will be out and about all across the UK – Hazel will be cycling an amazing 65 miles in one day from Dundee to Livingston; the North Wales Perinatal Mental Health Team will be heading up Moel Famau in Denbighshire; Alice will be starting her huge 71 mile swim; Jennifer and Lee are completing a 26 mile walk to Nottingham MBU on Saturday; Shelley and friends will be running a 5K in Stormont, NI; and one of our youngest fundraisers, 10 year old Annie, will be completing her mile a day in May challenge in Cornwall.
The month might nearly be over but it’s definitely not too late to get involved – Miles for Mums and Babies can happen whenever and however you want it to! So, if you have an idea for your own Miles for Mums and Babies challenge, we’d love to hear from you!
Exploring Black mothers’ experiences of postpartum psychosis and the role of racism
APP is supporting Emily Monger, a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Essex, who is exploring the experiences of postpartum psychosis for Black mothers, and how the role of racism and/or discrimination may have impacted women’s recovery for women. She is looking for women in the UK, aged 18+ who identify as being from a Black background and who have experience of PP to take part in her study. To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New psychological intervention to support women and families who have experienced postpartum psychosis
A research team at the University of East Anglia, led by Dr Jo Hodgekins, would like to talk to partners of women who have experienced PP. The research team is interested in learning more about what ‘recovery’ means to people with lived experience of psychosis and their families and the kinds of issues people would like additional support with, and what this support might look like. For more information, email email@example.com.
The role of sleep in the development of postpartum psychosis
If you have experienced PP, we are working with a team at Birmingham University to find out more about the role of sleep in the development of PP. Anyone who has experienced PP can take part in the pilot study which will involve filling in a number of questionnaires about their sleep patterns. For more information or to take part in the study, email: I.Morales-Munoz@bham.ac.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a researcher and would like us to support your research, please get in touch at an early stage in planning: email@example.com.
Dates for your diary
APP Yorkshire virtual café group meet up, Thursday 8th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackpool, Friday 9th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Lancashire & South Cumbria virtual café group meet up, Monday 12th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Wales virtual café group meet up, Monday 12th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Scotland virtual café group meet up, Tuesday 13th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Lancaster, Wednesday 14th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP London virtual café group meet up, Thursday 15th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Preston, Friday 16th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Dads and co-parents virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 21st June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Book Club virtual meeting, Wednesday 21st June: Book here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/app-book-club-snowflake-by-lucy-nichol-tickets-641366172487?aff=ebdsoporgprofile&keep_tld=1
APP Northern Ireland virtual café group meet up, Thursday 22nd June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackburn, Tuesday 27th June: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Sussex and Hampshire face to face café group meet up, Saturday 1st July: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP UK-wide virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 5th July: APP regional café groups webpage.
APP Muslim women’s virtual café group meet up, Saturday 22nd July: APP regional café groups webpage.
Upcoming conferences and events
Coventry & Warwickshire Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Walk, Sunday 11th June
5km walk at Ryton Pools Country Park. Organised by By Your Side. More information here.
Perinatal Mental Health Services: Improving access and support, Friday 7th July
Virtual conference focusing on improving perinatal mental health services as well as access and support during and beyond Covid-19. Book tickets here.
Improving Safety in Maternity Services, Thursday 13th July
Online conference focussing on a multidisciplinary approach to improving safety in maternity services following the Ockenden Review. Book tickets here.
If you would like to advertise your event here, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.