Thank you and Happy Christmas from APP

APP snowdropsA warm thank you to all of our amazing supporters & volunteers for their work in 2014!

Although progress is never as fast as we’d like, we must remind ourselves that this year we have: trained another set of Peer Supporters to offer support to women and families on our community forum and via email; run an event for new potential volunteers to talk about the work APP does (the largest ever gathering in one place of women who’ve had PP); published a guide for women at risk of PP who are planning pregnancy; published a guide to support women’s partners; expanded our web information and personal stories; set up our network of Regional Representatives, coordinated by Nicola; and begun developing a handbook, powerpoint slides and a training podcast to support the work of our Regional reps.

We’ve helped websites and organisations develop their content on PP – including NCT, Netmums & Postpartum Support International. We’ve attended events, training, and conferences, to get the word out about PP. In this endeavour we are now being hugely helped by our volunteer Regional Representatives who have made contact with their local perinatal teams, and given local talks and training to health professionals and students.

We continue to host the Everyone’s Business Campaign on behalf of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which now numbers 70 organisations.  The MMHA campaigns to put Perinatal Mental Health care onto the agenda of government and service commissioners.  The Campaign has, this year, highlighted the unjust postcode lottery in perinatal mental health services in the UK; and commissioned an important economic report from the London Schools of Economics into the costs of not adequately addressing perinatal mental health.

We witnessed a feeling of optimism as we all gathered at the Parliamentary launch of this economic report; MPs were hearing our message; organisations were sharing information and working together for the same goal.

Yet still sadly: this year, women died following PP; new mothers were admitted to general wards without their babies; a woman was imprisoned for many months pending trial; some families struggle to obtain the information, support and services that they need. We have a long way to go, but to us, the landscape at Christmas 2014 feels markedly different to the years before it. Interest is growing; frontline training is increasing; there is new pressure on services; public awareness must follow.

Lastly, thank you so much to our funders and fundraisers. We warmly thank the Big Lottery and Comic Relief for enabling us to do this work. Our fundraisers have achieved some remarkable things this year – from coffee mornings, bake sales, ebay selling, craftwork selling, sponsored runs, team bike rides, public performances, purple weddings, art auctions, Christmas card sales and more.

Onwards to 2015 –we welcome a new Chair, Dr Giles Berrisford; a new office at the Barberry in Birmingham University; a new Administrator, Mia Waters; and a new research post to be advertised. We offer our warm thanks to Professor Ian Jones for his chairmanship up to 2014, which has cemented APP’s place at the heart of this movement for change.  Professor Ian Jones will continue as a trustee and APP’s Research Advisor. With his help we will continue our focus upon research in 2015.

Dr Jess Heron 

Director, APP