Tag Archives: fundraising

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!

Mammoth Miles for Mums and Babies efforts this May!

This year we have had more people than ever take part in our Miles for Mums and Babies fundraising challenge. 

Here's just a few pictures to give you an idea of what everyone has been up to, with individuals and teams getting involved all across the UK.

Thank you to absolutely everyone who has taken part, provided moral or physical support or donated to keep our fundraisers going - it's been an incredible effort, and it's still ongoing!

Becky took on an epic 42 mile walk - find out more and check out the fab pics here.

Justine and a huge team of friends climbed Cavehill on a beautiful sunny day near Belfast.

Kayleigh and her husband Dave are walking 56 miles over 5 days - 56 miles was the distance Dave had to travel to visit Kayleigh when she was in an MBU.

A huge team from Nottingham's Margaret Oates' MBU completed 318 miles - and some dedicated team members didn't even stop when they were on holiday! The whole team completed the miles with a fabulous family walk. Find out more about what they've been up to and add your support here.

Some of our tiniest fundraisers got involved through Jenny Wren’s Rattle & Rhyme group who completed a wonderful five mile buggy push and toddle.

Emma took part in a 10k race on a sunny Wednesday evening in Northamptonshire.

The fantastic nationwide BleepKind team smashed their original 318 mile target, completing over 400 miles in total, and an incredible 92 hours of activity on bikes, on foot and in pools!

Husband and wife team Georgina and Chris are running 108 miles this month, and were even spotted in action at Trentham Gardens by an eagle eyed member of the APP Team!

Natalie is completing 60 miles over the three months, fitting it in around her already very busy life, and loving every step of the way!

Over in Spain, (yes Miles for Mums and Babies is international now!) Ruth had a 10k race planned but when an injury put a stop to her training and running, her amazing friends, Afra and Sinead, stepped in to ensure it didn't put a stop to her fundraising!
Afra completed a 21k race in early May, and Sinead is taking part in the Edinburgh marathon at the end of the month - what fantastic friends!

Hazel cycled amazing 65 miles in just one day from Dundee to Livingston, via Perth.

Hannah and Ryan are walking and running 156 miles throughout May - 120 miles for the distance their family travelled to be with Hannah when she was ill, and 36 miles for each day she was in the Mother and Baby Unit.

The North Wales Perinatal Mental Health Team have completed a MASSIVE 2000 miles between them and are finishing off in style with a team away day walking up Moel Famau meaning Mother Mountain - the highest hill in the Clwydian range in Denbighshire.

We also have a swimmer on board - up in Scotland Alice is planning on completing 71 miles of swimming in a month - 71 miles representing the number of days she spent in hospital while unwell with postpartum psychosis.

Laura D decided to tie her Miles for Mums and Babies challenge in with a Couch to 5K adventure.

Jennifer and Lee walked from their home to Nottingham MBU - a distance of over 20 miles) in one day.

Laura C is running a fantastic 50 miles in the month of May.

Becky is running 5k EVERY DAY in May, often pushing a buggy to make it even more challenging!

Sally is walking a huge 100 miles in May and has smashed her fundraising target!

Shelley and friends completed a 5K in Stormont at the end of the month, not only to raise funds but also to highlight the desperate need for an MBU in Northern Ireland.

10 year old Annie has shown real dedication by running a mile every single day during May, not missing a single one and sometimes even having to get up early to fit her mile in before school!

Some people have even longer term plans - Emily aims to walk an amazing 1000 miles this year - and has already completed nearly half of these miles; and Heidi is aiming for 1400 miles of running this year!

It's been a huge effort this year so far by so many, and we're so grateful to all of you!

Looking ahead, Adeline is running a 10K in Battersea Park at the end of June and Robyn will be paddleboarding in Leamington Spa.

So the month might nearly be over but it’s definitely not too late to get involved – Miles for Mums and Babies can happen whenever and however you want it to! So, if you're feeling inspired and have an idea for your own Miles for Mums and Babies challenge, we’d love to hear from you!

APP May Newsletter

New café groups

We’re delighted to announce the launch of two new peer support café groups for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis (PP):

On 22nd July, we’ll be holding our first online meet-up for Muslim women who have experienced psychosis in the perinatal period. The group will be run by Zebunisa and Ramlah from APP’s diverse communities outreach team for Muslim women to share experiences of PP, make new friends as well as find and offer support.

Zebunisa says: “I’m very much looking forward to meeting Muslim women who have been through postpartum psychosis. It’s a topic which isn’t discussed or mentioned enough and hopefully by meeting we can help raise awareness of mental illnesses such as PP following childbirth”.

Ramlah says: “I had PP back in 2014, after the birth of my first child. I am a British African Muslim woman with two beautiful children who I love dearly. Mental health is an open conversation I enjoy being a part of; I hope you are willing to come along and join us in this zoom call.”

If you would like to learn more or join the group, please email: zebunisa@app-network.org, or ramlah@app-network.org.

APP’s first UK-wide café group meeting will be held on 5th July. This friendly, informal meet-up on Zoom is for anyone who has experienced psychosis in the perinatal period, no matter where they live in the UK. To join, sign up on Eventbrite.

We already run nine regional café groups around the UK which meet virtually and face-to-face throughout the year. The groups are attended both by those newly recovering from PP and those who may have recovered many years ago. If you are interested in joining any of the groups – in Wales, Sussex & Hampshire, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, North East & North Cumbria, Lancashire & Cumbria, Birmingham and London - please email app@app-network.org.

We also run a virtual peer support group for dads and co-parents. It meets on the third Wednesday of every month and is for people who have supported a partner through PP. Our grandparents group meets approximately six times a year. If you would like to be on the mailing list for either of these groups, please email app@app-network.org.

New mother and baby unit

Plans for a new Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) - a specialist in-patient treatment unit where mums with mental illness are admitted with their babies - have been announced by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The eight-bed unit will be opened in Chester to support new and expectant parents across Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales.

APP’s National Training Coordinator, Dr Sally Wilson, is working with the Cheshire, Wirral and North Wales NHS teams to ensure the voices of lived experience are heard throughout the whole development process, as well as ensuring the unit helps to meet the needs of families from North Wales.

APP has long been campaigning for more MBU beds in the UK. We’re delighted that this new MBU will improve provision, enabling more mums and babies to stay together. There is work to be done to ensure that this is truly an accessible unit for women in North Wales including Welsh-speaking women and their families.

In many parts of the UK it is still the case that mothers and babies are forced to travel miles for treatment or that mums can be separated from their baby for treatment on an adult psychiatric ward. You can read more about APP’s campaigning for MBUs in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Scotland and add your voice here.

Richard's epic ride

On Monday, the incredible Richard Baish and his team of friends, will set off on a 475-mile, 5-day bike ride from Glasgow down to Oxfordshire. Richard is undertaking this challenge in memory of his wife Alex. He has already raised more than £37,000 so is well on his way to his £50,000 target.

His aim is to ensure healthcare professionals, antenatal educators and parents-to-be are made aware of the signs, symptoms and risks of PP, in the hope that no other families will have to go through what they have. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done already, and we’re all wishing him well on his ride – look out for updates on our social media feeds next week.

Dads and co-parents support

Chris, one of APP’s dads and co-parents peer supporters, took part in a podcast to share his experience of postpartum psychosis from the partner's perspective.

Chris spoke to Dr Rachel Davies, Clinical Psychologist at the Maternity Mental Health Service, for the Southern Health podcast.

Please note, this story talks about the trauma of postpartum psychosis very openly from a dad's perspective. Please take care if these are difficult topics for you at this stage in your recovery.

As Chris describes, PP is a hugely traumatic experience, not just for the women who develop it, but also for their partners and families. APP has produced an information guide for partners available here.

We are also hosting a specialist online training session: Supporting Dads and Co-parents on 14th July for health professionals and anyone interested in learning more about the impact of PP on families. The session will be delivered by the APP team along with dads and co-parents who have been affected by postpartum psychosis; share research related to the impact of PP on partners, as well as better understand the support needs of dads and co-parents.

For more information and to book a place email training@app-network.org.

Big Give - big thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who supported our Big Give campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week – to everyone to donated, and to those who shared our emails and social media posts. We hit our £5,000 target by 8pm on Saturday – nearly two days ahead of the deadline. This will make such a huge difference to our dads and co-parents support project, which is so vital for families affected by PP.

111,000 people reached during Maternal Mental Health Awareness week

The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness week ran from 1st to 7th May, engaging people throughout the world. APP shared content each day and ran events, including Laura Dockrill’s fabulous creative writing workshop, Peer Support sessions reaching the international community, and a research webinar in collaboration with the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), Birmingham University’s Institute of Mental Health and the University of East Anglia.

Thank you to everyone who shared our posts – our social media activity reached more than 111,000 people during the week.

We also launched some brand new resources:

A free online toolkit for antenatal educators to support the delivery of information about PP in classes, and our postpartum psychosis signs and symptoms poster available as a free A4 printed poster and as downloadable social media graphics.

Both have been very well received:

“Just wanted to say that your awareness campaign is great. I do talk about postnatal psychosis with my antenatal class parents-to-be but I know a number of them ‘switch off’ when we try to discuss scary subjects. I have supported one family where the mother developed PP”. - Antenatal class provider

“Thank you so much for these downloadable resources. I'm an NCT antenatal teacher and have been spending 5 mins on PP since you encouraged us to, but these resources will help make the message clearer”. - NCT antenatal teacher

British Medical Journal paper on maternal deaths

A new BMJ paper highlights the need for Government action to ensure that all health care professionals are trained to identify and manage risk of suicide in the perinatal period.  An early release of MBRRACE data for 2019-2021 shows that suicide continues to be a leading cause of death, accounting for 8% of all those who died in the first year after birth. Suicide due to postpartum psychosis can be prevented through early detection of the illness, rapid access to specialist inpatient treatment in a Mother and Baby Unit and support services (including peer support) through to full recovery and beyond.

Through NHS consultations this year, APP will call on the UK Government to make training in postpartum psychosis mandatory for all health professionals and first responders who come into contact with new parents.  Lives can be saved by ensuring all parents are aware of postpartum psychosis antenatally and training all professionals to recognise symptoms and access urgent specialist treatment.

The report highlights the continued inequalities in perinatal suicide rates - with social disadvantage and multiple adversity increasing risk significantly.  It is vital that our training reaches professional groups working in disadvantaged communities and that we continue to grow our communities outreach work.

Health professional training

We were delighted to deliver our first face to face APP workforce training day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic COVID earlier this month with the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (pictured above).

APP’s training is suitable for any professionals working with pregnant and postnatal women and families and draws upon cutting-edge research in postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder and the real experiences of women and families. Our courses develop knowledge and confidence in identifying and managing risk, developing pregnancy and postnatal management plans, identifying early symptoms, and providing high quality support to women and families from preconception to recovery.

Booking for the next online workshop on Wednesday 15th November is now open on Eventbrite.

Workforce training days can also be commissioned by individual NHS Trusts for their teams. If you would like to learn more about APP’s training offers email training@app-network.org.

Photography help

If you’re a keen photographer in the Manchester area, could you give APP a couple of hours of your time?

We’re looking for someone to take some high-quality pictures of a training event we’re holding on Saturday 8th July.

Please get in touch (app@app-network.org) if you could help. Thank you.

News from regional projects

  • On Wednesday 22nd March, Lucy - one of APP’s Northern Ireland based volunteers - ran an awareness-raising session at a women’s group which was attended by local women as well as health and social care professionals.
    APP staff talked about our work and the need for a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland volunteer Tara shared her experience of PP with the group, many of whom were previously unaware of the condition. Their feedback included:
    “…it’s such a hard thing to talk about. It’s helped me understand a lot better and what to keep an eye out for.”
    “…she is amazing and to be able to come and speak about her experiences so honestly will truly help women as there is still stigma around mental health.”
    Further sessions for other teams of professionals and women are being planned for Northern Ireland.
    Please follow and share our campaign posts for an MBU in Northern Ireland on social media using the hashtag #MumBabyTogetherNI. You can read more about APP’s Northern Ireland campaigning here and if you have experienced PP and live in NI, get in touch.
  • MMHA week Friday 12th May - Annette and Liva (pictured above), from APP’s Lancashire and South Cumbria project, attended an event at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for Maternal Mental Health Awareness day alongside Dad Matters, The Reproductive Trauma Service, maternity services and other organisations. A great opportunity to chat to with health professionals and share ideas about maternal mental health.
  • Mother and Baby Unit Open Day Saturday 13th May - APP joined Ribblemere’s open day held at the partner house on hospital grounds for families who had previously been at the MBU. It was lovely to see how well the mums were doing and how much the babies had grown. There was face painting, a treasure hunt and lots of tea and biscuits!
  • Birmingham-based Peer Support Facilitator, Soukaina, showcased APP’s work at the Chamomile MBU’s recruitment day on 22nd May. Around 200 people visited the event where Soukaina was able to talk about her work providing peer support to women, their partners and families at the MBU as well as across the community teams we work with in the Birmingham and Solihull area.

Media and books

Jocelyn, APP’s Peer Support Facilitator, talked about her work supporting mums at Ribblemere Mother and Baby Unit in Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s experience of care week newsletter.

APP’s National Training Coordinator, Sally, explains why it is so important for families to have access to Mother and Baby Units in an article for Wales Online.

APP Ambassador, Catherine Cho, and Diverse Communities Outreach Worker, Zebunisa, talk to CNN about PP for a series on gender inequality.

Zebunisa talks to Tommy’s Pregnancy Hub about postpartum psychosis and antenatal education

Hannah, APP's National Coordinator for NHS Contracts and Regional Projects, spoke to Rochdale Online about the launch of our new partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) to provide peer support at Andersen Ward Mother and Baby Unit.

APP’s Book Club will be meeting on Wednesday 21st June to talk about Lucy Nichol’s new book, Snowflake: Breaking Through Mental Health Stereotypes and Stigma. Book your free place on the Zoom meet-up here.

Fabulous Fundraisers

Fabulous fundraisers Flora and Mollie (pictured right) took part in the Hackney Half Marathon last Sunday, raising an awesome £3,439 for APP. They were inspired to run by their best friend who was diagnosed with PP after the birth of her son. They trained hard, had a brilliant day and crossed the line together – thank you so much to both of them.

If you feel inspired to take on a running challenge – email us fundraising@app-network.org – we have access to places in events all over the UK, including the London Landmarks Half, the Robin Hood Half, the Yorkshire Marathon, Cardiff Half, Great South Run and the Great Scottish Run, to name just a few. Get in touch if you fancy it!

It’s been our busiest May ever for Miles for Mums and Babies, with individuals and teams taking part all over the UK, covering hundreds of miles and raising thousands of pounds for APP.  You can find a mini round up here, read about Becky’s epic walk here (pictured above), Justine and team’s (pictured below) Cavehill Climb here; Nottingham MBU’s family walk hereJenny Wren’s Rattle & Rhyme group five mile buggy push and toddle; the nationwide BleepKind team smashing their 400mile challenge; plus keep an eye out for lots more updates at the end of the month.

Look out for those purple APP t-shirts if you’re out and about – in the last few weeks they’ve been spotted at the top of Scafell Pike (sported by our amazing fundraiser Lee) and at Trentham Gardens (worn by the fabulous Georgina and Chris – pictured right) Let us know if you see one of our purple tops out in the wild!

Over the next few days you might have an even better chance of spotting one than usual as so many fundraisers will be out and about all across the UK – Hazel will be cycling an amazing 65 miles in one day from Dundee to Livingston; the North Wales Perinatal Mental Health Team will be heading up Moel Famau in Denbighshire; Alice will be starting her huge 71 mile swim; Jennifer and Lee are completing a 26 mile walk to Nottingham MBU on Saturday;  Shelley and friends will be running a 5K in Stormont, NI; and one of our youngest fundraisers, 10 year old Annie, will be completing her mile a day in May challenge in Cornwall.

The month might nearly be over but it’s definitely not too late to get involved – Miles for Mums and Babies can happen whenever and however you want it to! So, if you have an idea for your own Miles for Mums and Babies challenge, we’d love to hear from you!

Research

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.

New psychological intervention to support women and families who have experienced 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

If you have experienced PP, we are working with a team at Birmingham University to find out more about the role of sleep in the development of PP. Anyone who has experienced PP can take part in the pilot study which will involve filling in a number of questionnaires about their sleep patterns. For more information or to take part in the study, email: I.Morales-Munoz@bham.ac.uk or 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 Yorkshire virtual café group meet up, Thursday 8th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackpool, Friday 9th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Lancashire & South Cumbria virtual café group meet up, Monday 12th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Wales virtual café group meet up, Monday 12th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Scotland virtual café group meet up, Tuesday 13th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Lancaster, Wednesday 14th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP London virtual café group meet up, Thursday 15th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Preston, Friday 16th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Dads and co-parents virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 21st June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Book Club virtual meeting, Wednesday 21st June: Book here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/app-book-club-snowflake-by-lucy-nichol-tickets-641366172487?aff=ebdsoporgprofile&keep_tld=1

APP Northern Ireland virtual café group meet up, Thursday 22nd June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Lancashire & South Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Blackburn, Tuesday 27th June: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP Sussex and Hampshire face to face café group meet up, Saturday 1st July: APP regional café groups webpage.

APP UK-wide virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 5th July: APP regional café groups webpage.

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

Upcoming conferences and events

Coventry & Warwickshire Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Walk, Sunday 11th June
5km walk at Ryton Pools Country Park. Organised by By Your Side. More information here.

Perinatal Mental Health Services: Improving access and support, Friday 7th July
Virtual conference focusing on improving perinatal mental health services as well as access and support during and beyond Covid-19. Book tickets here.

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.

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

Hazel's 65 mile cycle

Last weekend, APP volunteer Hazel Oates from Perth in Scotland took on a huge #milesformumsandbabies challenge for APP.

She cycled 65 miles from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, to the general psychiatric ward at the Murray Royal Hospital in Perth, then on to the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at St John's hospital in Livingston - the journey she made when ill with postpartum psychosis.  She was joined along the way by friends and family who were also a big support to her on her recovery journey.

She said:

What an incredible day! It was a real full circle moment, the first time round I was driven to the hospital by a care assistant whilst completely wracked with panic, fear, and strange thoughts. This time I travelled there with some lovely friends and family under my own steam and felt like the journey was reclaimed.

She stopped in at the MBU during her cycle to say hello to staff and give some gifts to the mums there. Hazel has now raised an incredible £5,000 from over 230  supporters - showing how many her message has already reached.

She also bravely chose to share her own personal story with the local media to help raise even more awareness of the illness and the effects it can have. Read her sensitive and powerful article here.

She posted regular updates of her training (and pictures of the beautiful Scottish countryside) on her GoFundMe page - you can see more and add your support for her fantastic achievements here.

Thank you Hazel!

Richard’s cycling challenge to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis and honour his late wife

At the end of May, Richard Baish and a team of friends will be completing an epic 475 mile bike ride over five days to raise money for APP in memory of his amazing wife Alex who tragically died last year.

The ride will start in Glasgow and head all the way down to Richard’s hometown of Witney in Oxfordshire, finishing on the 2nd June.

Richard’s challenge aims to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis, the severe postnatal mental illness that claimed the life of his wife Alex to in September.  With a toddler and a newborn baby to look after, as well as coping with the immense shock and grief of losing his partner, Richard gave himself a huge target of raising £50,000 for APP.

As he and his family had never heard of postpartum psychosis before they were affected by it, his aim is to ensure healthcare professionals and parents-to-be are made aware of the signs, symptoms and risks of the illness, in the hope that no other families will have to go through what they have.

So far Richard has raised an incredible £36,000 and his total is still going up every day. For our small charity, this is a huge amount of money, which will make such a difference to the work we can do to raise awareness, support families and save lives. We have already used some of the funds raised to begin an antenatal education campaign, including producing a toolkit for antenatal educators; and an online conference aimed at healthcare professionals is planned for the autumn.

Richard says:

I found out the hard way just how destructive PP can be. My advice for anyone who’s going through birth, either as a mum, dad, friend or family member, is to keep talking: whether it’s sharing good feelings or bad with each other or with professionals. Talking has helped me so much in my grieving process and it can help prevent the worst-case scenario. Postpartum psychosis is an awful illness but a treatable one. APP has supported me immensely in the last few months, and I know they share my passion to help save as many lives as possible through awareness of what to do and where to go for help.

Through his fundraising, Richard has also raised an enormous amount of awareness - using interviews, press and social media to reach people who would have never heard of postpartum psychosis otherwise. He brings kindness, honesty, passion, thoughtfulness and sensitivity to each interaction. It's difficult overstate the impact his fundraising has already had - tens of thousands of people have seen his campaign video (below), and nearly 1,500 individuals have given sponsorship, most of them previously unknown to him having been moved to support Richard after seeing a tweet or a Facebook post.

We can't imagine a better way to remember Alex and honour her memory. We're so grateful to Richard for the incredible, dedicated work he is doing for Action on Postpartum Psychosis, during the most difficult period of his life.

His story is truly inspirational but it can be a difficult one to read, so please take care visiting his fundraising page or watching the video below.

You can add your support to his campaign here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richardbaish

💜  If you have been affected by Richard's story, need any support, or want to meet others affected by postpartum psychosis, we're here for you. Find out more at www.app-network.org/get-help/peer-support-for-postpartum-psychosis/ or email us: app@app-network.org.

Richard has already done so much to raise awareness of PP with coverage on BBC Radio Oxford and in the Daily Record as well as via his social media feeds. You can follow his updates on Twitter and Instagram.  If you're a journalist interested in covering Richard's incredible story, please contact media@app-network.org

Becky's epic #milesformumsandbabies challenge!

At 4am last Saturday, 12th May, mum of three Becky Styles set out on an epic 43 mile walk/run to raise funds for, and awareness of APP.

Becky took on this challenge as part of our #milesformumsandbabies campaign, choosing 43 miles as it's the distance from her home to her closest mother and baby unit.

She also gave herself the target of raising £2400 - representing the number of mums who would have been diagnosed with PP in the two years since Becky herself was diagnosed after the birth of her twin daughters in May 2021.

She's actually gone on to totally smash her fundraising target, reaching an incredible £3100!

She told us:

I set off at 4am from my home in Wolverton and walked most of the route alongside the canal. It took 13 hrs 20 mins including stops.

My dad biked the whole way with me, my brother started the first 16 miles with me, then went in the car with my mum until 6 miles left which helped me at the end.

The last 17 miles I decided to try and run as much as I could. By 7 miles left I was in tears a few times like, feeling like - I can't do this! I couldn’t have done it without the support.

With support though, she completed the full 43 miles and the whole family was there to celebrate with her as she crossed the finish line!

Becky has also bravely shared her PP story and her family's journey on her GoFundMe page, helping to raise awareness of the illness. Do check it out and add your support to congratulate her on this amazing achievement.

A huge thank you from all of us here at APP to Becky for undertaking such a huge challenge and being such an inspirational fundraiser!

Double your donation

We're thrilled to be part of The Big Give's Kind2Mind campaign this Mental Health Awareness Week.

This means every single donation we receive on our Big Give campaign page between 12noon on Monday 15th May and 12noon on Monday 22nd May will be DOUBLED, at no additional cost to our donors.

Every donation we receive will have DOUBLE the impact – if you donate £5, Action on Postpartum Psychosis will receive £10, if you donate £25, we'll receive £50, and so on.

We have a target of £5,000 for the week which could help us significantly increase our offer of help and support for dads and co-parents in families affected by postpartum psychosis - a treatable medical emergency that affects 1-2 in every 1,000 new mums.

Will you donate today and get your donation doubled?

For many families, postpartum psychosis comes as a shock. Many dads and co-parents have never heard of this illness before, and the symptoms can be distressing.

At a time in their life when they were expecting to have the joy of a new baby, it can feel as if life has been turned completely upside down.

Simon and the APP team (pictured top) are here to help and support dads and co-parents through this traumatic experience.

Simon says:

Partner support is so vitally important, when your life feels like it's being torn apart and you may be feeling so isolated, even if you have family around you, to find the wealth of information APP provide and to be able to talk with other partners who have lived experience, that understand what it's like, "who get it", can provide the hope that things will get better. We see partners from every stage of the postpartum psychosis journey, be that in crisis, right through recovery and out of the other side. It doesn't matter when they come to APP.

'It’s hard for partners – and men generally – to admit there’s a problem that they just can’t fix themselves... Peer support makes you know you’re not alone.'

Alex - peer support beneficiary (pictured above left)

'I’ve been put in touch with another female couple and we’ve been in contact regularly, texting back and forth, and it’s been a lifeline. It’s just so good to have someone you can actually relate to.'

Nicola - peer support beneficiary (pictured above right)

Peer support really does make a difference. It can be life changing, and life saving.  A dad we supported told us:

"I don't think I would have been here if it wasn't for finding APP".

Donate today to have your gift doubled and help us support even more families affected by postpartum psychosis.

Look out for our posts on our social media pages - please share so we can reach more people.

Thank you for helping to support our campaign so we can be there for even more families.

Miles for Mums and Babies 2023!

A big shout out to everyone who has signed up for our Miles for Mums and Babies challenge so far! We’ve got more people than ever before ready to run, walk, swim and cycle hundreds of miles to raise awareness of PP and funds for APP.

Fundraisers all over the UK are taking part – here’s just a little taste of what’s going on during May…

In ScotlandAlice in Dundee (pictured right) will be swimming 71km in 28 days, and Hazel in Perthshire will be cycling 65 miles in a single day later this month.

In Wales the BCUHB perinatal mental health team in North Wales who have a team of 18 aiming to cover 154 miles during May; Laura in Cardiff who is planning to walk 50 miles over the month; and Heidi, a perinatal mental health nurse in Monmouthshire who is taking on a huge 1400 miles by the end of 2023 to represent the number of women who experience PP each year.

We’re delighted to have lots going on in Northern Ireland too, with Justine and Shelley getting friends and family on board to take part in their hiking and running challenges.

And across England there are individuals and teams taking part in all sorts of different ways, including…

Jennifer Dawson who’s taking on TWO challenges – one walking 26 miles with her husband Lee and another with her Rattle and Rhyme group – who'll be getting together to toddle 5k!

Jenny and Lee aren’t the only husband and wife team working together to reach a Miles for Mums and Babies target though, we also have Hannah and Ryan in Leeds planning to walk and run 156 miles - 120 miles for the distance their family travelled to the MBU and 36 miles for each day Hannah was in the unit; and Georgina and Chris who are aiming for 108 miles - the distance to and from their nearest MBU.

Most of those taking part have chosen a number of miles that has a meaning to them - Natalie (pictured right) has chosen to walk 60 miles as that represents the distance to and from her home and the MBU she spent time in - the journey her husband had to make to be able to come and see her and their baby.

Rebecca (pictured top) is planning a mammoth 43 mile walk in a single day, with the aim of raising £2400 - the number of mums who will have been diagnosed with PP in the two years since she herself was diagnosed. And she's very close to her huge target goal already!

We’re also really delighted to have the Blue Minds and BleepKind network involved this year, taking on an epic 318 mile challenge, which is already underway!

And having whole teams getting on board is just wonderful - including the Leicester Partnership Trust Perinatal Mental Health Team who are doing a mix of walking, running and swimming; and the Margaret Oates MBU in Nottingham who will be walking, pushing buggies, toddling, running, cycling and even getting their four legged furry friends involved to reach 318 miles (which is the distance from the most westerly MBU in the UK to the most easterly).

And this isn't even everyone who has planned to get involved - we'll keep posting updates throughout the month.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who has signed up so far and to everyone who has supported them already.

It's never too late to get involved in you'd still like to, just email fundraising@app-network.org and we'll send you a free Miles for Mums and Babies pack.

A day in the life of…a fundraising assistant

Kelly Ashcroft has worked with APP as Office Administrator and Fundraising Assistant since September 2020, and prior to that she worked as a peer support volunteer. Kelly, who had no previous mental health problems, experienced PP in 2006, three months after the birth of her son. She had her second child in 2011 and no recurrence of PP, although she still lives with anxiety and depression during times of increased stress.

Here, Kelly shares a typical ‘day in the life’ of her role with APP.

9.30am

I usually start work around 9.30am after the school drop off. The main part of my role is helping people who want to fundraise for APP, whether this is an individual fundraiser or a group of people fundraising as a team. I provide help with setting up a fundraising page on platforms such as JustGiving, GoFundMe and Facebook, and I post out fundraising materials including APP branded running vests, t-shirts, loose change collectors and balloons.

As a charity, we sometimes purchase places in events such as the Royal Parks Half Marathon, so I also help to register our runners' details on the charity consoles.

11.00am

I often help to promote our fundraiser’s stories and campaigns by sharing them on the APP website, through our social media channels and our newsletter. So sometimes the latter part of the morning is spent writing up an inspirational story which is always lovely to do.

I also encourage our fundraisers to join the APP Events and Fundraising Teamspace, and the Running, Walking and Cycling groups on Facebook so that everyone feels supported and part of a community. I might also be sending out thank you emails, certificates and medals to anyone who has recently completed a fundraiser for us.

12.30pm

I usually eat my lunch in the  garden so I can get some fresh air, and read a magazine to help me switch off. After lunch on a Tuesday we always have a team meeting, where each member of the APP team updates on the work they have been doing and what they have coming up. During this meeting we can ask for guidance and support from our colleagues/managers.

1.30pm

I also like to check in on any current fundraising challenges to see how fundraisers are doing and cheer them on. We recently had a fundraiser (APP’s very own Partner Coordinator Simon O'Mara!) complete an epic 851 virtual mile cycle ride for APP, so I always checked in on his daily progress, updated the news article on the APP website and offered him words of encouragement.

We’ve been so lucky to have lots of amazing fundraisers getting involved recently. Amy Coutts-Britton took part in the Oswestry 10k and we had had four runners in the Royal Parks Half Marathon; Nicola Ball, Jeni Dibley-Rouse, Anneka Harry and Sally Hogg. We also had Steve Bushell run the Yorkshire Marathon, Abi France ran the Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon and we had several runners in the London Marathon; Jason Sales and Andy Rolfe ran in the live event, and Dave Orridge, Sophie Raynor, Esther Land and Karen Lacey ran in the virtual event. The team from the Brockington Mother and Baby Unit even climbed Snowden for APP! We also still have some ‘Miles for Mums and Babies’ fundraising challenges ongoing. I am continually amazed and inspired by our brilliant fundraisers!

2.30pm

As part of my Office Administrator role I might also be answering the APP phone and monitoring the main APP email where I respond to queries or forward them onto relevant colleagues. The administrator role is really varied and can involve things like booking meetings on Zoom, posting out copies of our Insider Guides and leaflets, updating databases, and updating the APP website. Soon, I’ll be writing and sending out Christmas cards to this year's amazing fundraisers which is always a joy to do.

5.00pm

By 5pm I finish work and make a start on the tea for my two children and my husband. Working from home gives me a better work balance by not being stuck in the rush hour commute so life is always a bit more relaxed at teatime these days!

Anyone who is interesting in finding out more about fundraising for APP can contact Kelly by emailing fundraising@www.app-network.org