Tag Archives: fundraising

Emily and Andy – dream team!

APP volunteer Emily Saunders has even more reasons to celebrate this Christmas as she has just come to the end of an incredible year long Miles for Mums and Babies challenge!

Over the last 12 months she has walked an amazing 1000 miles to raise funds and awareness for APP. Emily took on this mammoth challenge to help support other families affected by postpartum psychosis. She suffered from postpartum psychosis and severe postnatal depression and anxiety after her daughter was born back in 2017.

Emily now volunteers with APP to help raise awareness.  She says: 'Through APP I have met inspiring, strong women who survived this illness and with whom I can share experiences'

Emily has continued to walk throughout this year, fitting it in around her job and busy family life.  She says: 'Walking is something which really helps my mental health and was so important to my recovery. I love being in the fresh air, enjoying nature, taking time to think, listening to podcasts and spending time both alone and with friends and family.'

Not only has Emily walked 1000 miles, and been supported by nearly 40 donors, she's also sponsored herself - saving a little bit each week to reflect the miles she's done for APP.

Read more and add your support for Emily here: www.justgiving.com/page/emily-saunders-1000milewalk

But Emily is not alone in her mission to raise funds for APP though – her partner Andy is also taking on his own challenges. In October he completed the Macclesfield Half Marathon and next March, he’ll be heading to France to take on the Paris Half Marathon!

Do add your support to help him get through these harsh winter training days…  www.justgiving.com/page/andrew-rolfe-1700334019667

What an amazing couple! The biggest thank you from all of us at APP to Emily, Andy, their family and all those who have supported them.

Ways to support APP this festive season

 

There's lots of ways you can show your support for APP this festive season:

  • Host a festive Big Bake event with friends and family – for more info visit bit.ly/APPBigBake
  • Nominate Action on Partum Psychosis for a £50 award - please take a minute to complete this form and tell them why you love APP in 50 words or less by 31st December.  It's a really short form - just the 50 words or less plus your name. If you have 5 mins any time before the end of the year, please do give it a go!
  • Sign up to EasyFundraising - APP are registered with easyfundraising, which means you can help us for FREE. Over 7,000 brands will donate to us when you use easyfundraising to shop with them – at no extra cost to yourself! All you need to do is sign up and remember to use easyfundraising whenever you shop online.
    This year you can also help us WIN one of four £250 donation prizes in easyfundraising's Refer to Win giveaway. We'll get a FREE entry each time a new supporter signs up to easyfundraising before the 18th December! It only takes a moment and it's completely free, so please sign up today and give us an entry!
  • Sign up to Give as You Live - Another way to raise free donations for us while Shopping online this festive period. It's simple and easy to use and more than 6,000+ stores are registered with them. Sign up today and start using Give as you Live Online!
  • Buy your Christmas, Hanukah and other seasonal cards from Making a Difference Cards - All cards can be personalised with photos, names and messages, and you can buy them individually, in packs, as printed cards or as digital e-cards and there are options for businesses too. Browse the selection here: https://bit.ly/APPcards
  • Buy an APP voucher as a gift – struggling to think of present ideas for the person who has everything? Make a donation to APP in their name, then drop us an email and we’ll send you a downloadable gift voucher for you to print and wrap for them for the big day. 
  • Text APPXMAS to 70085 to donate £5. Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text APPXMASNOINFO instead.
  • Nominate us for a Movement for Good Award - it takes less than 1 minute and we might win £1,000 – simply visit www.bit.ly/NominateAPP and complete the form – no obligation to sign up to any mailing lists or anything either.
  • Share our social media posts – every share helps us reach more people.

Thank you so much for your support and have a fabulous festive season!

Lee's final challenge!

Lee bungee jumpingOur amazing fundraiser and dad of two, Lee Smith, is taking on one final physical challenge this month to round off a year of incredible achievements.

Lee’s wife Jess was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, a severe mental illness, after the birth of their second daughter in 2020, and Lee is passionate about raising awareness and funds to help other families affected.

In the last 12 months Lee has completed 13 challenges – he started last December with a 10 mile mystery run; then went on to climb the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales; completed 100,000 steps in 24 hours; ran 5k a day in March; finished the Alnwick 10k, the Great Run 10k and the Great North Run; plus a Total Warrior obstacle course and he got his adrenaline pumping with a 100mph zipwire adventure and a 140ft bungee jump!

He’s battled through all weathers – from snow and ice to heatwaves, fought personal illness, fitted challenges around work and family commitments and managed to convince friends and family to take part in many events alongside him as well.

For his final event on 10th December, Lee will take on his longest, most challenging run of all – 22 miles from the family home in Washington to the specialist Mother & Baby Unit in Morpeth – where Jess spent several months receiving treatment when she was ill.

Lee says: 'Jess was sectioned on 8th December and first time I was allowed in (all masked up because of COVID) was the 11th so my final run represents the whole journey perfectly.  I’m so immensely proud of Jess and everything we’ve been through as a family and the challenges I’ve undertaken this year have been a good representation of this, as well as (without realising) helping me through some really dark days. APP is always going to have a special place in my heart thanks to the support and help it has given us as a family’.

Jess is now recovered and both Lee and Jess volunteer for APP – Jess as a peer supporter and Lee through his fundraising and awareness raising.

To support Lee on his amazing final challenge, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lee-smith215

Laura's 50 miles in a month!

Laura wearing her purple APP running vestThis October, mum of two Laura Walton is taking on a massive Miles for Mums and Babies challenge - running 50 miles in a month for APP.  Laura admits she is not a runner – saying she hasn’t run since before her wedding in 2014!  But she is keen to take on this challenge for APP to help raise awareness and funds.

Laura is passionate about raising awareness of postpartum psychosis since she herself was diagnosed after the birth of her first baby, Katie.  Laura had worked in childcare for nearly 20 years and felt like there was nothing she didn’t know about babies and children – but in all her years of working with children and parents, she had never heard about postpartum psychosis.

After her baby was born, Laura says she just didn’t feel right – ‘everything felt weird’ - and she could hear voices in her head.  She became obsessed with the idea of her baby getting ill or dying and felt she had to stay awake to keep watch over Katie. After 10 days with no sleep, her husband took her to hospital where, even though she shared exactly how she was feeling, her symptoms were not recognised as PP and she was not admitted.  As is often the case with PP, things got worse quickly, and Laura ended up being sectioned, with six police officers involved.  After being separated from her baby and held overnight in a room in the hospital, finally she was admitted to Leeds MBU. This was two hours away from her home and family, but it meant she could be together with her baby. Her husband and mother visited every day, spending hours travelling to and fro. Laura spent more than three months in the MBU, then was cared for by her community mental health team at home until she fully recovered.

Her journey to recovery was long and challenging, but after four years she felt well enough to be able to try for another baby – fully understanding that PP might come back, but she felt prepared for this and wanted to try.  As soon as she got pregnant, she started to feel early symptoms, so quickly accessed support and suitable medication, which kept her and her baby healthy throughout the rest of her pregnancy.

Laura is challenging herself to run 50 miles this month because she wants everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PP, and to know how quickly it can affect new mums and mums to be. She says:

‘When I was ill, no one ever told me or my her family that I would get better – it was terrifying to think I might never be myself again.’

Laura is now back to the person she was before. She very aware of what can affect her mental health and is mindful about looking after herself.  She’s studying counselling and wants to do more to help understanding of mental health, particularly in new mothers.

She plans to celebrate completing her final mile with a party for all her family and friends at the end of the month.

To support Laura’s 50 mile challenge, visit her GoFundMe page here.

Thank you for your support Laura!

Vote for APP to help us win £10,000!

Helping Hands Community Grants

We're delighted to announce that APP have been shortlisted for one of JoJo Maman Bébé's Helping Hands Community Grants this year.

12 organisations have been shortlisted, but only six will receive a grant worth up to £10,000 and we need your help to ensure APP is one of them!

All you need to do is click here, scroll down to select Action on Postpartum Psychosis before the 13th September 2023.  It's free, it only takes seconds and there's no need to sign up to a mailing list.

Once you've voted, please tell all your friends, family and colleagues to vote for APP too - the more we get, the more likely we are to receive one of the grants. You could share the link via Whatsapp or email, or look out for and share our social media posts.

£10,000 would make a huge difference to our work, providing peer support for women and families affected by PP via our forum, on a one-to-one basis and through our regional ‘café’ groups.

“The peer support service is fabulous… [it] fosters knowledge and works to create greater awareness of PP and I am very glad to be involved with this. I still can’t talk to anyone else about my illness. To have the recognition and support of others who have suffered as I have when their babies were tiny is invaluable to my mental well-being.”

We'll find out after the 13th September whether we have been successful!

Thank you for your support.

Jodie jumps for APP!

On Saturday 22nd July in Glasgow the very brave Jodie McNairn bungee jumped from 160ft (nearly 50m!) to raise funds for APP and awareness of postpartum psychosis.

Jodie chose this challenge as she felt a jump like this would feel so freeing. She says she's using it as a way to leave the past behind and move on.

Jodie has also bravely shared her story with us to help ensure more people understand the signs and symptoms of PP and to bring hope to others affected by PP:

'The day I got home from hospital after giving birth to my daughter five days previous, I started hallucinating and became obsessed with my health thinking something was wrong. Me, my boyfriend and my daughter went to stay with my mum for some support but after a few days things progressively got worse. I was confused, withdrawn, erratic and was starting to have awful thoughts that were becoming dangerous. This is probably when my family realised it was more serious than they thought. I was admitted to a general mental health unit and while there ended up sectioned as again things got worse and I had no control over myself anymore.

This was during Covid so I couldn’t see my daughter while I stayed there which was even more confusing. I remember while I was there I thought I was dead and that I was living in hell repeating the same day over and over and over.

A week later a bed became available at Leverndale Mother and Baby unit which was the start of my journey to getting the right help I needed. The women there were amazing, they helped me so much. I spent my 23rd birthday there as well as mine and my daughter Lyla's first Christmas, which brings me to why I wanted to raise money for APP.

On Christmas all the girls and their babies received loads of gifts and information/support from APP and it was at this point that I knew I wasn’t alone and what I was going through was a real Illness. I was discharged on Hogmanay to continue recovering from home with the support of my family and friends and Laura the CPN that stayed in touch regularly.

Nine months later I fell pregnant with my son and the day he was born I went back on medication in case the psychosis came back which thankfully it never did and I got to enjoy my newborn without being unwell. Two and a half years ago I didn’t even think I would be here and now I get to live life with my 2 year old daughter and my 1 year old son.

Things WILL get better - you are stronger than you think.

If you managed to read all that then thank you! And thank you to APP for giving me the chance to raise money for all the amazing things you do!'

Jodie reported back after smashing her bungee: 'So, so scary but what a feeling once you jump!'
If you'd like to add your support for Jodie's jump, you can do so here:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jodie-Mcnairn

And if you're inspired by Jodie to take on a bungee jump for APP, contact fundraising@app-network.org and we'll send you all the info you need.

Good luck Jodie!

Read APP's July 2023 newsletter

Health professional training

New dates announced! Book on to APP’s health professionals training in postpartum psychosis (PP) and stay up to date with best practice care.

Supporting dads and co-parents affected by postpartum psychosis
This half day online workshop, led by Dr Sally Wilson and APP Partners Coordinator Simon O’Mara, is informed by real life experiences of dads and co-parents whose partners have experienced postpartum psychosis. At the end of the workshop: you will have an up-to-date knowledge of the research into the impact of PP on partners; understand the needs of dads and co-parents; and have learned about strategies and interventions to improve support.
Friday 14th July / Zoom
10am - 12.30pm BST
£99
Find out more & book: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/app-training-supporting-dads-and-coparents-tickets-648045761317

Best practice care in postpartum psychosis
This one-day online course draws upon cutting-edge research in postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder and is informed by the experiences of women and families. The course will develop knowledge, understanding, and confidence in managing this severe form of postnatal mental illness.
Wednesday 15th November / Zoom
Full day training
Early bird (to 31st July) £165, full price £195
Find out more & book: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/app-training-managing-postpartum-psychosis-for-health-professionals-tickets-496307337607

Essential knowledge for preventing maternal suicide
The Alex Baish Memorial Lecture: a free webinar for GPs, midwives, antenatal educators and frontline health professionals
Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK and rates are increasing nationally. This free lunchtime webinar aimed at frontline health professionals will outline the actions needed to support and protect women who develop the condition. The webinar will include a Q&A session with APP’s clinical, academic and lived experience experts.
Wednesday 18th October / Zoom
12pm – 1.30pm BST
Free
Register your interest at: training@app-network.org

Supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families affected by postpartum psychosis
This new online session led by APP’s National Training Coordinator, Dr Sally Wilson, and APP’s Diverse Communities Outreach Team, will focus on supporting women and families from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities who develop postpartum psychosis. By the end of the session, you will have knowledge of the support and information needs of women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities; and have considered strategies to remove barriers and improve care.
Thursday 16th November / Zoom
12pm – 2.30pm BST
£99
Find out more & book: www.eventbrite.com/e/supporting-black-asian-and-ethnic-minority-families-affected-by-pp-tickets-671354869487

Northern Ireland campaigning update

In Northern Ireland we’re waiting for news of the next step for a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU). We campaigned hard last year for public, professional and government support for the unit. The government strategic review due in the spring has been delayed until summer and we’ve heard that’s because all five Health Trusts were keen for it to be in their area.

With no Government in Northern Ireland, and no Health Minister, even when a Trust is chosen to develop a business case, nothing can be done. But we’re not going to let an MBU fall off the agenda.

We’ve got plans to lobby when politicians are back from their summer break, and we’re staying in touch with journalists who have reported on this before.

We’ve got three questions we need answered:

  • What’s the timeline for building and opening an MBU?
  • What’s the budget and where will the money come from?
  • What is going to be done for mums who need admission in the meantime?

To really make our case, we need support from women in Northern Ireland who’ve experienced postpartum psychosis. We know it’s much harder to ignore people who have real stories to tell, so we’re reaching out to anyone who is prepared to talk to media - even anonymously - or to talk to an MLA about their experience.

Please also get in touch if you used to live in Northern Ireland and had access to an MBU elsewhere in the UK that you wouldn’t have had at home - we’d love you to share your story. APP volunteer, Tara, recently shared her experience of postpartum psychosis (PP) in this podcast.

We’ll support you through the process. Even if you don’t feel certain about talking, you can give us a call to discuss it. Get in touch with Ellie here.

It’s just not fair that women have to leave Northern Ireland to get the help that’s available in all other parts of the UK, and we’re determined to change that.

#MumBabyTogetherNI

We are recruiting

APP is recruiting casual Peer Support Worker(s) to join our innovative collaborative project with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust providing peer support to inpatients at Birmingham Mother and Baby Unit (MBU).

We’re looking for people with lived experience of postpartum psychosis to help support women, one-to-one and through small group activities, at the MBU. Peer Support Workers also spend time talking to partners and families of women during the acute illness phase, sharing information, giving hope and signposting to APP’s online support, community forum, and information. Part of the role will be spent helping to run monthly café groups in the Birmingham area and - working in collaboration with Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust - at various locations around that region. You don’t need to have experience of peer supporting. Training will be provided.

Full details of how to apply for the role are on our website. The application deadline is midnight on 21st August 2023.

Scotland Mother and Baby Unit petition


We know that some mums in Scotland who suffer from postpartum psychosis are treated in general psychiatric wards away from their baby and family.

There are currently only two specialist Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in Scotland based in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

APP believes every family affected by PP should have access to specialist care. MBU beds accessible to women in the North of Scotland are vital.

You can help us by adding your name to this petition, developed by Lesley, one of our Scotland volunteers, which is currently under consideration by the Scottish Government. Adding your name will help the Scottish government understand how strongly we feel about access to specialist care – and keeping mums and babies together: https://petitions.parliament.scot/petitions/PE2017

#KeepMumsAndBabiesTogether

Celebrating Perinatal event

On 24th May, APP attended the "Celebrating Perinatal" event, organised by Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.  It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate all the work done in the region over recent years, and to look back to the start of services in the North Staffs area in the 1980s.

APP’s Hannah Bissett, National NHS Contracts Coordinator, Jo Derry, Black Country Peer Support Facilitator, and Jenny Stevenson, National Online Peer Support Coordinator joined Dr Giles Berrisford, APP's Chair of Trustees, who gave a national update on the progress of perinatal services as Specialty Advisor PMH for NHS England. Hannah is pictured above with Harriet Lambah-Heap (ward manager at Brockington Parent & Baby Unit).

Color Obstacle Rush

On Saturday, June 17th, a group of 12 APP staff and families (pictured above) from the north west took part in the Color Rush at Manchester. It was such a fun event consisting of lots of coloured powder, foam, giant inflatable obstacles and maybe some running.
As a group, they managed to raise £1,086. There is still a chance to donate here.
We are thinking of doing this again next year and there are various locations all over the world! So please get in touch with fundraising@app-network.org if you’d be interested.

Professor Louise Howard, OBE

Congratulations to Professor Louise Howard who was awarded an OBE in the first King’s Birthday Honours last month for services to women's mental health.

Louise is Professor Emerita in Women’s Mental Health at King’s College London. Her research programmes aim to improve mental health service policy and practice for women. She led research that informed the updated NICE guideline on how to identify and treat perinatal mental illness and her work has also informed pregnancy planning tools commissioned by NHS England and Public Health England.

Fabulous fundraisers

Our amazing supporter Lee Smith is continuing his epic 12 month, 12 challenge fundraiser. He’s already taken part in several running events, including a back-to-back Total Warrior event followed by the Great Run 10k, he’s also climbed Scarfell Pike, run 5k a day for a month and just last month, he and his wife Jess climbed Ben Nevis.  To mark their joint achievement, their daughter made them this beautiful book as a present – she’s so proud of them and we are too. Add your support to Lee’s incredible campaign here.

Ultra Event!

We have our first APP ultra runner in action this weekend! Michael Henderson-Sowersby is taking on the mammoth 100km ‘Race to the Stones’ on 8th July, raising money for APP in memory of his school friend Alex Baish, and for another charity close to his heart - Devizes & District Opportunity Centre.  Find out more about his epic training efforts and add your support here. Good luck, Michael!

Miles for Mums and Babies

Another huge thank you to everyone who took part in our Miles for Mums and Babies challenge this year – donations are still coming in and challenges are still underway, but already our amazing fundraisers and their supporters have raised more than £20,000! This will have such an incredible impact on the work we can do supporting mums and families. Thank you so much. You can read more about our Miles for Mums and Babies adventures here.

Looking for your next challenge?

There are dozens of running events going on this October all over the country – half marathons in cities including Oxford, Glasgow, Manchester, Portsmouth and London (including the beautiful Royal Parks Half); full marathons in Chester and York, 10 milers in Leicester and Yorkshire, 10kms in Guildford, Tatton and Glasgow, and inflatable 5k fun runs in Huntingdon and Warwickshire – wherever you are and whatever level of challenge you’re looking for – we’ll find the event for you! For most events, there’s a small registration fee of just £25 and a minimum fundraising target that ranges from £100-350 depending on the race. There's still plenty of time to get your training in before October. Tempted? Email fundraising@app-network.org and we’ll sort you out with a free APP running vest and lots of support and encouragement!

Suncatchers

We’re very excited to have been donated more beautiful suncatchers, all handmade with love and care by our wonderful APP supporter, Peter the Glass.  Numbers are very limited so if you’d like one, get your order in quickly. More info here.

Research

You can help improve care for the future by supporting research into PP. Please join our lived experience network, and then contact the researchers for information on each study.

Exploring Black mothers’ experiences of postpartum psychosis and the role of racism
APP is supporting Emily Monger, a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Essex, who is exploring the experiences of postpartum psychosis for Black mothers, and how the role of racism and/or discrimination may have impacted women’s recovery for women. She is looking for women in the UK, aged 18+ who identify as being from a Black background and who have experience of PP to take part in her study. To find out more email em21633@essex.ac.uk.

The causes and triggers of postpartum psychosis
The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) and Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) are working together to understand more about the genetic factors, and other causes and triggers of severe mental illness during pregnancy and following childbirth.

You are invited to take part in this research if you have experienced postpartum psychosis or other severe mental illness around childbirth. For more information and to sign up to participate, please visit this page.

Enhancing recovery from postpartum psychosis
A research team at the University of East Anglia, led by Dr Jo Hodgekins, would like to talk to partners of women who have experienced PP. The research team is interested in learning more about what ‘recovery’ means to people with lived experience of psychosis and their families and the kinds of issues people would like additional support with, and what this support might look like. For more information, email j.hodgekins@uea.ac.uk.

The role of sleep in the development of postpartum psychosis
APP is working with researchers at the Institute of Mental Health, Birmingham University, led by Dr Isabel Morales-Munoz, to investigate the role of sleep in postpartum psychosis (PP). If you have experienced PP, you can help by completing questionnaires about sleep patterns. To take part, register with APP’s Lived Experience network, and email: c.a.f.carr@bham.ac.uk.

If you are a researcher and would like us to support your research, please get in touch at an early stage in planning: research@app-network.org.

Dates for your diary

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria virtual café group meet up, Monday 10th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP London virtual café group meet up, Monday 10th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Grandparents virtual café group meet up, Tuesday 11th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Lancaster, Wednesday 12th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Yorkshire virtual café group meet up, Thursday 13th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackpool, Friday 14th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Dads and co-parents virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 19th July: APP regional café groups webpage

Birth Trauma Awareness Week, 16th-22nd July: www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk

APP Wales virtual café group meet up, Thursday 20th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Preston, Friday 21st July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Muslim women’s virtual café group meet up, Saturday 22nd July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Black Country face to face café group meet up at Walsall Arboretum, Wednesday 26th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackburn, Friday 28th July: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Preston, Saturday 12th August: APP regional café groups webpage

APP Black Country face to face café group meet up at Walsall Arboretum, Wednesday 23rd August: APP regional café groups webpage

Events

Improving Safety in Maternity Services, Thursday 13th July
Online conference focussing on a multidisciplinary approach to improving safety in maternity services following the Ockenden Review. Book tickets here.

Suicide Bereavement: Practical Applications Conference, from Tuesday 5th September
Fourth annual conference organised by Harmless featuring a series of live webinars on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The theme of this year’s event is ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back. Book tickets here.

If you would like to advertise your event here, please get in touch: app@app-network.org.

75-year-old GB Triathlete takes on record breaking Ironman challenge for APP

75-year-old Alex Heron, a GB Triathlete from Mumbles, Wales, is set to take on the Tenby Ironman this September to raise money for APP.

Alex was 64 when he began his triathlon career in 2012, and he now hopes to set a new record as the first 75–79-year-old category entrant to complete the gruelling Welsh contest – one of the world’s toughest Ironman races – in September 2023. Alex will also be running in the Swansea Half Ironman on 16th July.

He said: “For all of my active life I have stubbornly said I will never do a full Ironman! There really is nothing to recommend it except for the promise of getting my first manly tattoo on the back of rather puny and rapidly shrinking calves.”

The Tenby Ironman consists of a 3.8km sea swim, a 180km cycle race and finishes with a challenging 42km marathon run.

It’s a tough challenge for anyone, but Alex believes it’s worth going back on his commitment to never put himself through a full Ironman for charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis.

Alex said:

I have seen first-hand, and from the outset, the amazing work of Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP). Under its CEO, my daughter, Dr Jess Heron, I have been able to follow the amazing work the team does and the huge difference they make for women and families who, often completely out of the blue, struggle with the devastating experience of postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a severe but treatable form of mental illness that occurs after having a baby and affects 1400 new mums in the UK each year. APP offers information, training, and peer support, facilitates groundbreaking research, raises awareness and campaigns for improved services. Its life changing peer support-network helps women and families affected by postpartum psychosis to feel understood, supported and less isolated.

Alex added: “I’ve still got a lot of training to finish before September comes around, but, while a full Ironman presents a huge challenge to me personally, it is nothing compared with the family impact of postpartum psychosis – and that’s something we can all help to alleviate through awareness raising, fundraising and campaigning – three things that APP does so exceptionally well."

To support Alex on his amazing mission to become the first person in the 75-79 age group to complete the Tenby Triathlon visit his JustGiving page.

Alex's grandaughter, Beth, has designed this leaflet to help raise awareness of her amazing grandad! Please do share.

75 years of the NHS

The NHS is 75 years old on Wednesday 5th July. At Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) we would like to mark the anniversary by thanking all the staff who are part of our partnership projects with the NHS, working to deliver peer support to women and families affected by postpartum psychosis (PP) and severe postnatal mental illness.

APP's NHS partnership projects

APP has been working collaboratively with the NHS since 2018. By embedding our peer supporters in Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) and with perinatal community mental health teams we reach women and families during admission and discharge as well as provide longer-term support through local community café groups - monthly get-togethers for anyone who has experienced PP.  Wider family members are signposted to dedicated dads, co-parent and grandparent support via APP’s national projects. Women from diverse communities can be matched for additional support to others with similar experiences.

Since 2018 APP's NHS partnership projects have supported  more than 700 women and family members.

We’re currently working with NHS teams in:

  • Birmingham (East, South, West and Solihull community teams).
  • Chamomile Suite Mother and Baby Unit in Birmingham.
  • Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit in Chorley & community teams in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
  • The Black Country community teams (Walsall & Wolverhampton and Sandwell & Dudley).

“I am incredibly proud of our NHS partnership projects and the work which APP peer support teams do alongside our NHS colleagues. Reaching women and families earlier in their illness, whether whilst at an MBU or as part of a community team, including supporting pregnant women who are at risk of PP, has provided vital peer support which APP is well-placed to provide, being in but not of the system.  Our café groups and other community support is there for women for as long as they wish to be part of it, and seeing those who have been patients then give their time and experiences to APP as volunteers is both very moving and a great testament to what we have achieved so far.  I would welcome the opportunity to grow our networks of APP peer supporters in NHS services and would love to hear from other MBUs about how we can work together on more collaborative projects.  

Like many others who have lived experience of PP, I am thankful to the NHS and for the treatment I had when I was unwell, as well as APP’s peer support which was such an important part of my recovery and ongoing journey. To be working on these projects now is hugely rewarding and something I never imagined could be possible. Thank you to the NHS, my wonderful APP and NHS colleagues, and everyone who is marking this special anniversary”. 

Hannah Bisset, APP National Coordinator – NHS Contracts. Email: hannah@app-network.org

Find out more about APP's regional projects here.

Training

Since 2014 APP has delivered lived experience talks and workforce training days for NHS staff, including MBU teams, health visitors, midwives and mental health nurses. The courses help health professionals recognise the early signs and symptoms of PP; promote the importance of timely treatment; and talk about recovery and support needs.

  • 100% of health professionals attending APP’s training say it has increased their knowledge of PP.
  • 100% say it will change their practice, with 73% saying it will change their practice ‘a lot’.
  • 99% say they feel better equipped to identify and manage those at risk of PP during pregnancy.

Workforce training days can be held at NHS sites. Find out more about APP training here or email: training@app-network.org.

Fundraising

We want to thank and celebrate NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard to support APP through fundraising. Many healthcare professionals have taken on marathons or other sponsored challenges for APP over the last few years, and teams from MBUs and Perinatal Mental Health Teams in Glasgow, Birmingham, Nottingham, North Wales and Swansea have all taken part in our Miles for Mums and Babies challenge - running, walking and cycling hundreds of miles to raise awareness of PP and funds for APP.

The Morpeth and Exeter MBU teams and the Pennine Specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Team all joined in with our Big Bake for APP.

We would love to partner with more NHS teams, to highlight the support families going through PP need and raise money for our work. Sign up for #MilesforMumsandBabies or get in touch with our fundraiser, Fliss.

Quotes

“As Peer Support Facilitator with APP and the Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust I have had the privilege of supporting many mums and families alongside the caring and compassionate perinatal team at the MBU and in the community. It such a great partnership between APP and the Trust, as APP complements the services provided by the amazing perinatal services to ensure that mums affected by PP, and their whole family, are supported throughout their recovery journey and beyond”.

Jocelyn Ellams, APP Peer Support Facilitator – Lancashire and Cumbria

“It is a fantastic service and I feel very lucky to have this as an option in my workplace with such a caring and compassionate peer support worker”. 

NHS Healthcare professional

“Thank you so much for your support through the past 3 months. It’s meant so much. It has been the hardest 3 months of my life, but I think a lot of good has come out of it. I’m so much more motivated and confident now than I was before and I’m getting so much enjoyment out of my baby”.

Mum supported by APP-NHS partnership project

Join our NHS projects team

APP is recruiting casual Peer Support Worker(s) to join our innovative collaborative NHS partnership projects with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust providing peer support to inpatients at Birmingham Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) and in the community through our café groups in both the Black Country and Birmingham.

We’re looking for people with lived experience of postpartum psychosis to help support women, one-to-one and through small group activities, at the MBU and to be part of our West Midlands café groups across the region. Full details of how to apply are here.

Limited collection of suncatchers available now!

Back by popular demand, we have new stock of our beautiful handmade glass suncatchers, lovingly made especially for APP by a very kind and talented supporter. And this time we have a new addition - a beautiful blue tit!

We're simply asking for a suggested donation (details below), and all the proceeds will come directly to APP to help us continue to support mums and families affected by postpartum psychosis.

Bluetit - 18cm by 14cm - suggested donation £25 including p&p
Kingfisher - 13cm by 20cm - suggested donation £25 including p&p
Angel - 20cm by 20cm - suggested donation £35 including p&p
Robin - 18cm by 14cm - suggested donation £25 including p&p

They are posted well padded and beautifully gift wrapped, so can be sent directly as a present for a loved one if you wish.

Email fundraising@app-network.org to reserve your favourite - stock is very limited and we sold out last time, so if you'd like one, be quick!