APP March newsletter

Happy Mother’s Day

The APP team would like to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day for Sunday.

However you plan to spend the day, we hope it will be a special time for you. If you would like to support APP, you can buy Mother's Day cards at Making A Difference Cards. You’ll find a big selection of cards – both virtual and actual! – which you can personalise and add photographs as well as images.

For those who find the day difficult, feeling like recovery from postpartum psychosis is still some way off or remembering mums who are no longer with us, APP is here to support you. Our volunteers are on the forum every day of the year, or you can request email or video call support here.

BBC Appeal

Our BBC Radio 4 appeal will be airing very soon. Make a note in your diaries for 7.54am on Sunday 24th March to hear the first broadcast live (it will also broadcast again later that day at 9.25pm, and again on Thursday 28th at 3.27pm, plus it will be available forever via BBC Sounds).

Our ambassador Laura Dockrill (pictured above) is presenting our appeal and we’re so excited for everyone to hear it. We would love you all to help us spread the word about – please look out for posts on our social media platforms (@ActionOnPP) from 14th March onwards and like, comment and share!

We’d also like to ask you to invite your friends, family and networks to listen in and be part of the campaign – raising awareness of PP really does save lives. Could you host a listening party – get a group of friends or colleagues together for a cup of tea and listen in? Or perhaps simply send a message with a link to listen to your most active WhatsApp groups?

If you have been helped by APP, we’d love to make a collage of selfies of people from our network holding a piece of paper with one word that expresses what peer support means to you (see the picture of APP National Coordinator Jenny Stevenson below for an example), or maybe you could send us a short quote about what peer support means to you. Please send them to us by 11th March. We’ll be using these words and images for a social media campaign around the time of our broadcast.

Most importantly, listen in and share with as many people as you can! All donations up to £25,000 will be matched by a generous donor - so your support will make a massive difference.

New billboard campaign

This March keep an eye out for our first ever APP billboard campaign which will be popping up on digital billboards all over the UK. The impactful initiative has been made possible through the support of the JCDecaux Community Channel and the creative design expertise of agency Mother.  If you see one out and about, and it’s safe to do so, please do take a picture and share on social media, tagging @ActionOnPP.

You can read more about the billboard campaign here.

Miles for Mums and Babies

Our Miles for Mums and Babies challenge is just around the corner, and we’d love you to start thinking about how you might like to get involved.

Each year to mark Maternal Mental Health Week, we ask our supporters to take on a challenge to help raise funds and awareness for APP. In 2023, we had runners, cyclists, swimmers, paddleboarders, toddlers and hikers taking part all over the country. With Miles for Mums and Babies, you choose your own challenge: pick a number that means something to you – maybe the number of miles you or your family had to travel to the Mother and Baby Unit where you were treated – and decide how you want to complete those miles. You could do it alone, with a friend, or get a whole team together. Do it in one day, over a week, or across the month. It’s entirely up to you! Get inspired and find out more here or email Fliss at fundraising@app-network.org for more information.

Chester MBU groundbreaking

APP staff and volunteers were delighted to attend the official groundbreaking ceremony in January for Chester’s new Mother and Baby Unit.

The eight-bed unit which will support new and expectant parents across Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales will be called Seren Lodge. The name has been chosen by mums who have experienced postpartum psychosis. APP volunteer Nia said: “It was important to the group to choose a name which signified hope and positivity, but also something which was welcoming to families no matter where they live. The name ‘Seren’ translates as ‘star’ in Welsh and ‘lodge’ felt homely and not clinical at all, which we thought was perfect.”

The picture above shows APP volunteers Sarah (front row, second left) and Nia (front row, third right), along with APP’s national co-ordinator Hannah Bissett (front row, 2nd right) at the ceremony.

You can read more about this news story here.

Seren Lodge is due to open next winter and is a result of a partnership between Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCHUB), Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England and NHS Wales.

Women’s Winter Webinar: understanding postpartum psychosis

Experts and women with lived experience from APP took part in a webinar on the latest postpartum psychosis research earlier this week.

The event was part of the National Centre for Mental Health’s Women’s Winter Webinar series.  The sessions aim to raise awareness of the conditions featured and are open to the general public as well as health professionals and those with an interest in mental health research.

If you missed the live event, a recording of the webinar will be available on the NCMH’s YouTube channel.

Books about PP

Will You Read This, Please?, edited by Joanna Cannon, is a collection of stories from people about living with mental illness. The opening chapter has been written by Jenn Ashworth and Nicola Knight, who has lived experience of postpartum psychosis. The book also features a chapter by author and APP Ambassador, Catherine Cho.

Joanna will be chairing a special event at the Southbank Centre in London on 19th March. In “Stories of Living with Mental Illness” the panel will share their experiences of working on the book and highlight illnesses which aren’t often discussed or written about. You can book tickets here.

The Snow Globe by Jenny Pagdin is a poetry collection detailing Jenny’s own experience of PP. The book includes poems of pregnancy, birth, illness, and shame as well as rebuilding, love, and hope.

Jenny says: “Postpartum psychosis only affects around two in every thousand births, and stigma makes it difficult for people to share first-person accounts. Poetic accounts are especially rare. The Snow Globe employs a wide range of forms, oftentimes bespoke to this collection, reflecting multiple and jarring realities.”

Mark Williams’ new book How Are You, Dad? tells his story of coming through depression following the birth of his son and how his experience inspired his campaigning work including founding International Father’s Mental Health Day. The book also features a contribution/chapter from Simon O’Mara, APP’s Partner Peer Support Coordinator.

In Mad Mothers: A memoir of postpartum psychosis, abuse, and recovery, Lorna May Davies tells her story of developing postpartum psychosis after the birth of her daughter. Lorna decided to write the book to help people understand and overcome PP.

APP’s Book Club is meeting via Zoom on Wednesday 13th March to discuss Matrescence: On the Metamorphosis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood by Lucy Jones. New members are always welcome. You can book your free place here.

In the media

APP volunteer Tara and Chief Executive, Dr Jess Heron, spoke to the Guardian about the need to improve access to Mother and Baby Units.  Tara also shared her story with Belfast Live.

APP Storyteller Ruth shared her postpartum psychosis experience with OK!

Our storyteller Emily shared her story in the Express and the Mirror.

APP’s Training Coordinator, Dr Sally Wilson, took part in a discussion about postpartum psychosis from the Beyond Baby Blues Podcast series.

Thank you to our fundraisers

A massive thank you to everyone taking part in a fundraiser for us this month – challenge season is definitely up and running again!

Andrew Rolfe completed the Paris Half Marathon last weekend. Fionnuala Sutton is taking on 10k in Nottingham next weekend. And Chris, Emma and their son Arthur will be running the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon on 24th March as a family.

Also, a big thank you to everyone who has hosted a Facebook birthday fundraiser for us. Already this year we have raised £1,284 and it's only March!

Coming up next month, we have APP runners taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon, Brighton Marathon, Rutland Half, the Paris Marathon and we even have four runners taking on the official London Marathon. Fancy a challenge later in the year? Get in touch: fundraising@app-network.org.

Mums and mental health survey

The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) and Action on Postpartum Psychosis are working together to understand more about the 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 click here.

Dates for your diary

  • International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March
  • Mother’s Day, Sunday 10th March
  • APP Lancashire and south Cumbria virtual café group meet up, Monday 11th March
  • APP Book Club virtual meeting, Wednesday 13th March 2024. Discussing Matrescence: On the Metamorphosis of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood by Lucy Jones. Book your free place here.
  • APP Northern Ireland virtual café group meet up, Thursday 14th March
  • APP Birmingham face to face café group meet up in Birmingham, Friday 15th March
  • APP Lancashire and south Cumbria face to face café group meet up in Preston, Friday 15th March
  • APP Manchester face to face café group meet up in Manchester, Friday 15th March
  • APP Scotland face to face café group meet up in Edinburgh, Saturday 16th March
  • APP Sussex and Hampshire face to face café group meet up, Saturday 16th March
  • APP Yorkshire virtual café group meet up in Sheffield, Tuesday 19th March
  • APP dads and co-parents virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 20th March
  • World Storytelling Day, Wednesday 20th March
  • World Poetry Day, Thursday 21st March
  • APP London virtual café group meet up, Thursday 21st March
  • APP Black Country face to face café group meet up in Walsall, Tuesday 26th March
  • World Bipolar Day, Saturday 30th March
  • APP Manchester face to face café group meet up in Manchester, Friday 26th April
  • APP Black Country face to face café group meet up in Walsall, Tuesday 30th April

Contact information for all APP café groups is available here.

Events and conferences

Black Maternal Health Conference UK, Monday 18th March

Organised by the Motherhood Group, this London conference features keynote speakers and panel discussions focusing on how health equity for Black mothers can be achieved. More details and ticket booking here.

Bipolar UK annual conference, Saturday 20th March

Free annual conference which is the culmination of a week-long series of online events, including:

  • 8pm-9pm Tuesday 26th March – Rotary Bipolar eClub hosts an ‘in conversation with’ session with a special guest
  • 12.30pm-1.30pm Thursday 28th March – Bipolar Research Webinar: The world’s leading bipolar-focused researchers share their latest projects, findings and advice to help you live well with bipolar
  • 6pm-8pm Saturday 30th March – Flagship Conference Event, featuring an inspiring speaker, an expert Q&A on bipolar at work, and a round-up of the charity’s activities past, present and future. Sign up here.
  • 12.30pm-1.30pm Tuesday 2nd April – Panel Discussion: Can Advance Choice Documents save bipolar lives?

There’s more information about the week and the annual conference here.

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