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.
It was another wonderful day and really special to be together as women who have had PP and share our experiences. Two of our new Peer Support Volunteers told us how they felt about the training day:
"The training day was really well organised, there was a lovely welcome from Ellie, Hannah, Jenny and Jess and we were all made to feel valued. It was an emotional day for me at times as this was the first occasion I had met any other mothers who had also been through PP and it was touching to hear about the amazing support offered to mothers and families experiencing the devastating illness.
I would highly recommend this training to any one else who would like to use their own experience of PP to be able to support others going through similar times.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”
"Since becoming a Regional Rep in June 2017, I have had various opportunities to interact with mums who have had PP, practitioners interested in increasing awareness of perinatal mental health as well as being able to educate other groups and individuals by talking about my experiences.
As part of this outreach, I contacted the local police training headquarters. A woman suffering from a severe episode of PP may be detained under the mental health act, it could be the Police that are involved with this. I approached the training headquarters to see if APP could provide training for officers to help recognise and understand any signs or symptoms, as well as be able to signpost the family to support. While the training session were too full to include a session on PP, they have included an article on their intranet ensuring that all trainees have access to information and links to APP should they ever come across it.
My experience of PP was while I was living in Brazil and through research on the internet I found APP and its peer support forum on Health Unlocked. My main support, besides my husband, was through the APP peer support forum. There I was able to talk about my experiences and feelings without judgement and was signposted to areas of help.
Last week, I took part in peer support volunteer training and am now an official volunteer on the forum! The day-long training involved discussing online listening skills, the needs of users and skills needed by volunteers. It was a great opportunity to put faces to names, learn more about PP and APP and generally be in the company of some inspiring women! It's wonderful to be able to offer the support that I found invaluable to others.
As well as volunteering with APP, I also volunteer in my local area with Home-Start, a charity that supports families with children under 5. As part of my training with them I was able to discuss and enlighten the trainees and organisers about PP and APP. Home-Start is an extremely valuable charity supporting families who are struggling with the chaos of having a young family. I know that another Regional Rep was supported by her local Home-Start after her episode of PP. It has been great using my training and experiences from Home-Start with APP and vice versa.
Coming up next month, I will be talking to Institute of Health Visitors at the PMH and Infant MH Champions training in Manchester as part of the lived experience section of their training. This is will be another invaluable opportunity to reach out to professionals in the field."
Our Peer Support Service is kindly supported by Comic Relief, The Allen Lane Foundation and Rosa, as well as the generosity of individual donors and fundraisers.