World First: Highest number of women with lived experience of Postpartum Psychosis come together under one roof!
On Saturday 26th April 2014, The Barberry in Birmingham was once again home to another fantastic APP event. The Volunteer Event gave thirty women who have experienced Postpartum Psychosis and their families a chance to join together to talk about the future of the illness and the charity.
The day combined a more formal agenda with chances for women to chat, meet each other and share their stories. Several women in the room had never talked openly about their PP episode before and all who attended were deeply moved to be surrounded by individuals who truly understood the illness first hand.
Dr Jess Heron, Vice Chair, set the tone for the day with a warm and informative welcome; she gave an overview of APP, its history and hopes and dreams for the future. Andrea Lambert, Peer Support Coordinator, then described the amazing work being done to help women and their families via the forum and on an individual level. Lucy Vernall talked about media volunteering, pointing out the pros and cons of choosing to share your story publicly. Nicola Muckelroy spoke about her current project, to launch a Regional Representative network, ensuring APP has every region in the UK covered by at least one active volunteer who will raise awareness and fundraise in their specific area. Heather Heron, Trustee, filled the pre-lunch slot with an enthusiastic and passionate plea for fundraising and the difference it makes.
After lunch, Anna Jones, Volunteer, talked about her experience of PP and talks she has been giving to the medical profession in her area to help the PP cause. Professor Ian Jones, Chair, bought the more structured agenda to a close by sharing his academic research in to PP and answering questions from individuals about the illness, recovery, medication, symptoms and its connection with other mental illnesses.
In the afternoon, the attendees split in two different groups to brainstorm, collaborate and tackle questions regarding the future work of APP. Topics covered included: Regional Rep roles, obtaining and spending future funding, support opportunities for woman and families, providing useful literature, research projects, campaigning at government level, involving high profile individuals and equipping Volunteers with the necessary skills set.
Dr Giles Berrisford, Clinician & Trustee, gave a summary of all these discussions, remarking on the extraordinary progress APP has made to date and how vital its support is to the world of perinatal psychiatry.
Throughout the day, Lucy Vernall, APP’s Media Coordinator, was ready and armed with a camera in the photo booth to record snippets of women talking about their PP experience with messages to the general public, sufferers and policy makers about the illness. These clips will be made into short films for the APP website to help with campaigns for improved services.
Another remarkable APP event bringing women together to help cement a brighter future for Postpartum Psychosis and improved services for those affected by it.
Following the event we received many messages from attendees expressing how much meeting other PP women face to face meant to them and how much they got from the day on so many levels. Here’s one of them:
"I wanted to drop you all a few quick lines to say simply "Thank You!" for last Saturday at the Barberry. It was the first time I had attended an APP event & most importantly for me, the very first time I had met another living, breathing mother who had also experienced Postpartum Psychosis!! I now truly understand I have not been alone in this long old journey & this was an incredible feeling, very special indeed. I want each of you to realise that what you have achieved so far is worth every single minute & hour of effort that I understand must go into running that kind of Workshop. Thank you so very much." ~ E.G.
On her blog 'Bumps and Grind', Kathryn writes about coming along to the Volunteers Event & also her experience of receiving support via our PPTalk online forum.
Kathryn's blog: 'Bumps and Grind: PP Survivors United'>>