Award-winning Blackpool writer runs London Marathon to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis

Blackpool writer and actress, Lauren-Nicole Mayes, is about to take on her biggest challenge yet as she gears up for Sunday’s London Marathon in aid of the national perinatal mental health charity, Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP).

Born and bred in Blackpool, Lauren broke into the world of writing having noticed a lack of stories representing the working-class women who raised her. Her first play BABYNUN XO premiered at The Lowry as part of a research and development week, following the story of Isabella and Mike and explored the impact of postpartum psychosis (PP) in all of it’s hilarity vs despair mentality. The piece has since developed as a TV idea and  follows the stories of five sisters as one explores the impact of PP which unites and fractures them further. It has been picked up by It’s All Made Up Prod and now has a broadcaster attached.

Lauren-Nicole headshotLauren said: “When I was researching Babynun XO I spent a huge amount of time speaking to APP’s community of women and families affected by postpartum psychosis – a serious postpartum mental illness that affects around 1,400 women each year. I saw first-hand how vital the charity is when it comes to helping people recover from this devastating illness, and I can’t think of a better cause to fundraise for.”

Postpartum psychosis affects 1-2 in every thousand births in the UK and it can occur completely out of the blue in women with no previous mental health problems. Symptoms include extreme elation or euphoria, sudden mood changes and the rapid onset of unusual beliefs. Women may also experience visual and auditory hallucinations, extreme confusion and anxiety.  It’s a serious illness that should always be considered a medical emergency, however, most women do go on to make a full recovery with the right treatment and support.  In the Blackpool area, APP runs in-person peer support ‘café groups’ as well as providing one-to-one peer support for families affected by PP.

Lauren has been training hard for the past few months in order to take on this significant challenge, something she has had on her bucket list for several years. She said: “I’ve never really considered myself a serious runner before deciding to take on the London Marathon. I used to run 5km and park runs, but since signing up to the Marathon it has become all-consuming. I can’t believe I am now running 30 kilometres on a Saturday each week!

“You can become so fixated on the end goal, but the training in itself, both from a physical and psychological point of view, is a marathon in its own right. It’s safe to say I’m feeling nervous but I keep reminding myself that I am limitless, and I know if I think about the reason I am running and the charity I am raising money for it will absolutely keep me strong and get me through the tough times.”

In 2023 Lauren was selected for BBC Writers Room: Northern Voices where she developed her ideas for TV. More recently, she was chosen as one of the final two writers for the inaugural regional Breakthrough Writers Programme by WARP Films for her original series idea SHIT.GOD.SHIT which was also a stage play.

Felicity Lambert, APP’s National Fundraising Co-ordinator said: “We are all in awe at Lauren’s commitment and passion for fundraising for APP. Running a marathon is no mean feat, and we know that she will not only do us proud on the day, but she has also been raising lots of awareness for the charity and for postpartum psychosis more broadly in the run up as well. We are so grateful for all her support – both in terms of her fundraising efforts and of course the stories she is telling on stage and screen. The more people who know about postpartum psychosis, the more quickly women can be diagnosed and the more lives can be saved.”

Lauren is aiming to raise £1000 for APP by taking part in the London Marathon.
To support her, visit her fundraising page: