Tag Archives: Maternal mental illness

Author Catherine Cho announced as APP charity ambassador to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis

We are delighted to announce that author and literary agent, Catherine Cho, is now an official APP ambassador.

Inferno: A Memoir of Motherhood and Madness, Catherine’s critically-acclaimed book about her experience of postpartum psychosis (PP), was published in 2021, providing readers with a poetic, honest and raw account of the illness and inspiring hope in recovery.

Catherine, who was shortlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, joins APP ambassadors poet, author and illustrator, Laura Dockrill (who experienced PP in 2018), and her husband, Hugo White (a musician and record producer, formerly of The Maccabees), to raise awareness of the illness.

PP is a severe and debilitating postnatal mental illness, triggered by childbirth, affecting 1,400 women in the UK and 140,000 women in the world each year. Half of all cases occur ‘out of the blue’ - with women having no history of mental illness. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression, restlessness, anxiety, confusion, and unusual behaviour. With the right treatment, women can make a full recovery.

Catherine said: “It is important for me to become an APP ambassador, because it is so important to be open about postpartum psychosis. Maternal mental health, particularly postpartum psychosis, is something that holds so much stigma and shame, which makes it even more of a frightening and isolating experience. I hope that I can help APP in sharing my story and the stories of others. When I was in the midst of recovery, I couldn't imagine becoming well, but it was in finding this community and the kindness of others who were so open in sharing their stories that I could begin to hope that this would, one day, be a story from my past.”

 Jess Heron, CEO, Action on Postpartum Psychosis said: “Catherine has already done so much to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding PP, not only through her book, but also through speaking in the media and at events. We are delighted to formalise and celebrate Catherine’s role with us, recognising the vast amount of work she continues to do.

“Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK. If we are to reach government targets of halving maternal deaths by 2030, more needs to be done. Women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities report poorer experiences and barriers to care. Catherine’s networks and storytelling will help our charity deepen the discussion around the culture, community and stigma in the experience of PP, and begin to influence support for women affected by PP in the UK and around the world.”

APP is a collaboration between inspirational women with lived experience, world-leading academic researchers and specialist health professionals. Hosted by The University of Birmingham, APP runs an award-winning UK-wide peer support network, including a forum with over 2,800 users sharing experiences and receiving support; develops comprehensive patient information; trains frontline professionals; manages four NHS partnership contracts providing direct support to women in Mother and Baby Units; conducts awareness raising media work and facilitates research into the causes and treatments of the illness.

The charity also regularly works with authors, playwrights and screenwriters to raise awareness and tackle stigma, including supporting the publication campaigns of both Catherine and Laura’s memoirs. APP has supported a range of other fiction and non fiction books that explore postpartum psychosis including: A Secret Never to Be Told by Alison Cobb, Five Days Missing by Caroline Corcoran  and Are You Really OK by Stacey Dooley.

APP has supported a wealth of research on PP and will this year be publishing results of its second 10 year survey of care for PP in the UK, comparing Mother and Baby Units to General Psychiatric Units, and the charities’ 10 year impact report.

 Read more about Catherine’s story here