We wanted to find out what media attention could benefit Action on Postpartum Psychosis.

We conducted telephone interviews with a group of women with lived experience of postpartum psychosis, asking them:

  • what needs to be communicated about postpartum psychosis,
  • who does it need to be communicated to, and
  • how it should be communicated.

Key conclusions from the report

  • As a matter of priority, recovering women need access to basic information about postpartum psychosis. They spoke of the need to hear reassurance.
    • “It’s an illness like any other.”
    • “You don’t get it because you are not a good mother or because you can’t cope.”
    • “Symptoms and behaviour may seem bizarre but they are a common part of the illness.”
    • “You will recover."
    • “Your child can be happy and healthy - you can go on to enjoy your child like a ‘normal’ mum.”
  • Most of all, women would like to hear from and see other women who have experienced postpartum psychosis and are ‘normal’ and live normal lives.
  •  Partners need access to information and reassurance too. They need to understand how to get help and that this change in the person they love is not forever, it's only a matter of time.  They would benefit from information from men who have been through it.
  • In the long term, women often become very interested in the condition and want to read books or scholarly articles. There is a need to understand what happened. This could be achieved by talking to other women, reading accounts of people’s experiences and writing accounts of one’s own. These could be collated on a website or in a book.
  • Health visitors, midwives and GPs need to know how to spot symptoms, explanation of illness, pathways to recovery through leaflets, education and training.
  • Increased awareness in the general public. Having some awareness beforehand would make the experience less frightening and strange for women and families. If more people knew about postpartum psychosis, it would be easier to talk to other mothers and friends about their experiences.
  • Many women who have had postpartum psychosis feel very strongly about communicating information about the condition and helping other women. They want to bring about something good from what they experienced. They suggested setting up media group of women who are happy to share their stories; network of local ‘reps’ to talk to groups such as NCT, midwives, and GPs.

A copy of the report is available on request. Email media@www.app-network.org to find out more.