Eastenders are running a high profile storyline about Postpartum Psychosis over Xmas, with Stacey who has Bipolar Disorder developing the illness.
The script-writers have gone to some efforts to research the illness – so we hope that, even though Eastenders is a ‘drama’, this storyline will help to hugely increase awareness of PP, reduce stigma, highlight the importance of specialist treatment in Mother & Baby Units, and help new mums who develop postpartum psychosis to get diagnosed and treated more quickly.
Several members of APP with personal experience and one of our academic experts have commented on drafts of the script, and met the actress and her on screen partner. We have high hopes that it will be done well, but obviously, we do not get to approve the scripts. We are also aware that Stacey’s story can’t represent all women who have PP – every experience of PP is different and individual – but we hope that it will go some way to raise awareness of some of the symptoms and issues faced by women & families.
We are working with a Medical Student at Birmingham University to research the impact of the storyline on women who have experienced PP to help us understand the benefits and downsides of increasing awareness of PP in this way. We know that for some women, the increased publicity about PP around Xmas, might be a difficult experience. If you find you need to talk, please visit our peer support web forum or one-to-one email service (register on website):
pptalk. We’ll open a thread on the forum about the story so people with experience of PP can comment, give their thoughts, & support each other if needed.
There is a great demand from journalists at the moment looking to write about women’s personal experiences of Postpartum Psychosis. Here is APP’s Volunteer Media Guide, which we hope helps people to consider the issues when deciding whether to talk to journalists. Please do get in touch if you are willing to be on our media volunteer list, with a bit of information about yourself: media@app-network.
Whether you decide to watch Eastenders or not, we hope you have a lovely Christmas.