The first ever UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week took place during 1-7th May 2017 and was organised by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership.
The Partnership is a small group of individuals including those with lived experience , from charities and health care professionals , who came together in 2014 with the dream of creating an awareness campaign for maternal mental health. Three years later, falling within the week that World Maternal Mental Health Day ran, we launched the campaign.
The Falling Through The Gaps report in 2015 advised that more than one in ten women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year of having a baby and if left untreated, this can have a significant emotional impact on the women suffering and their families.
With this in mind, the week focused on how and where people can seek help in the perinatal period. Its vital for women, their family and friends and health care professionals to know where they can access support for perinatal mental health conditions, so to encourage this, PMHP ran themed days on its social media channels. Analysis shows that during the week, the PMHP facebook page alone achieved a reach of 116,000 and engaged with 7,000 people.
Across the UK, charities, organisations and individuals ran exciting and interesting events to celebrate the week and provide information for mothers and their families, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance encouraged its members to support these and the hashtag for the duration was #maternalmhmatters
01st May – #Map my support
Across our social media channels, PMHP provided information about the different maternal mental illnesses that can affect women and shared details of charities, organizations and support groups services across the whole of the UK, using the hashtag #mapmysupport . There were 80 tweets directly referring to the hashtag, outlining services across the UK and 338 retweets of these.
02nd – May How to access support from health care professionals
PMHP ran two Facebook Live sessions from its Facebook page for people to watch and contribute to both live and on playback:
1 A session with Dr Stephanie DeGiorgio, a GP and member of the PMHP, on how to approach GPs for help and support
2. A session with pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones regarding the antidepressants that are safe to take while breastfeeding and with a maternal mental illness
In her session, GP Dr Stephanie discussed about how to approach healthcare professionals for help as it can be really daunting to pluck up the courage to open up to a doctor or health visitor and so discouraging when you do so and don’t get the help you need and deserve. Dr Stephanie also provided an insight into how health care professionals can support unwell mums. This took place via the PMHP Facebook Page at 11.30am on 2nd May.
You can watch the session here https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=614322175425689&id=587696788088228 .
Analysis shows that Dr Stephanie’s live chat has been viewed 5,000 times with 105 shares . PHMP have received messages from mums to advise they have played the video to their GP and it has received very positive feedback.
“ This is wonderful Dr Stephanie”
“Great advice “
“You are amazing for talking about this. Smashing stigma”
“So brave to talk about personal experience. No judgement , purely support”.
“Thank you for sharing our experience , exposing intrusive thoughts is so important and so much more common than people think”
“ So good to hear these thoughts happen to lots of people”
“Thank you for being so honest Dr Stephanie. Hearing someone who has experienced it and is also a GP is so reassuring for mum”
“This is amazing . Thank you for sharing your advice and such honesty”
“Thank you so much for discussing intrusive thoughts”
“I am a health visitor and will be definitely be taking this to my team. Thank you for such a practical , honest and relevant video for mums”
“Really brilliant , thank you”
” You were calm headed and emphathetic and honest. I with you were my gp’
Alongside this session, PMHP members Smile Group compiled a blog on overcoming obstacles to seeking help. PMHP also promoted Smile’s positively received GP Checklist ( http://www.thesmilegroup.org/help-from-the-professionals/ ) which mums can complete with their symptoms and pass to their health care professional if they are finding it difficult to verbalise their symptoms and Dr Stephanie referred to this during the live session.
Also supporting this session, Dr Carrie Ladd also wrote a blog to share a link to the Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit with a wider audience. The Royal College of Gps, in partnership with NHS England, produced this toolkit to assist health care professionals to deliver the highest quality care to women with mental health problems in the perinatal period. As well as offering a diverse collection of resources, the Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit gives details of additional learning for individual practitioners. It also provides resources for those concerned about their own mental health issues.
In the blog, Carrie she advised on the usefulness of the toolkit – “for professionals, there are many useful links to help with prescribing issues and to give advice to women to help them make an informed choice about the safest choice of medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are several Top Tip style documents about communication, red flag signs to identify more serious illness as well as links to further learning. For patients, there are links to many information leaflets, third sector organisations, online peer support groups, digital media sources of help amongst many others”.
A link to Carrie’s blog is here https://drcarrieladd.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/uk-maternal-mental-health-matters-awareness-week/ and the Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit, which is accessible to all, is here http://www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/toolkits/perinatal-mental-health-toolkit.aspx .
Dr Wendy Jones is a widely recognised Pharmacist who runs the the Breastfeeding and Medication website . Her Facebook Live session provided information on safe antidepressants to take while nursing. This seems to be such an uncertain area for both mums and health care professionals , with many people, believing or being advised to stop breastfeeding in order to take anti depressants. In fact , there are a variety of safe medications and Wendy provided information on these during the session.
This took place via the PMHP Facebook page at 7pm on 2nd May. The session has been viewed 11,000 times with 247 shares and the feedback on the session is below.
You can watch the session here https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=614488795409027&id=587696788088228 .
Feedback on session is below :
“Thank you for sharing your passion and knowledge Wendy”
“Than you – this is so reassuring “
“Thank you , Excellent. I work as a Health Visitor and facilitate local breastfeeding support groups . This is such valuable advice.
“ A really useful presentation”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this”
“Brilliant Wendy, you are such a reassuring inspiration, Thank you”
03rd May – World Maternal Mental Health Day
PMHP worked with Postpartum Support International and member organizations on plans for the day. We encouraged the creation of a virtual positivity pot for people to dip into (encouraging the use of the hashtag #perinatalpostivitypot) and tweeted articles, blogs, recovery stories and quotes from mums on what has helped them during their recovery.
Organisations such as Bluebell Place have a positivity board, Smile Group have a Little Book of Smiles and PNDandMe have their Little Book of Hope all containing quotes of this nature and we encouraged people to use these as inspiration.
People could join the global partners by adding a Twibbon to their Twitter profile, downloading the infographic and registering any events they
04th May – Self Care
We focused on Self Care during the day – focusing on how it’s okay to focus on yourself and how to do this.
05th May – Tips and Tools to support recovery
We looked at Tips and Tools to support recovery. To end the week on a positive note, we wanted to share some practical strategies for managing symptoms.
There was also a #PNDhour run by Rosey Adams from PNDandme during each night of the week 8pm-9pm.
Follow Rosey on Twitter @pndandme as she runs a #PNDhour every Wednesday throughout the year and its a brilliant support and information sharing portal for mums , families and health care professionals.
Rosey’s main aims of setting up the #PNDHour were :
To provide a safe space to discuss topics surrounding pre and postnatal illness.
To help connect those affected by the illness, and provide support for each other.
To increase awareness and encourage open conversations about the illness.
To discuss where improvements could be made in all areas of the support provided for those affected.
For more information see http://www.pndandme.co.uk/pndhour/
For more info on how to access twitter if you haven’t previously, download the masterclass at the end of this blog by Laura Wood http://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/beyond-peer-support-twitter-and-perinatal-mental-health/
Analysis shows there were 3,578 #pndhour tweets across five days , with the peak being during the session on World Maternal Mental Health Day , when 1,011 tweets were sent. Across the whole week, nearly 700 unique participants took part .
Throughout the week, events were held both on and offline throughout the UK to support mums and families and raise awareness of maternal mental illnesses and support services.
NCT Teeside held a week long series of events and the details can be found via this link https://www.facebook.com/events/866150676881842/?ti=as
2nd May – Walk, Wear , Push Preston Park
3rd – Bumps and Babies and feeding support
4th – Toddlers
5th – Drop in with antenatal practitioner
7th – Walk , Wear, Push , Albert Park
Raindrops To Rainbows held a whole week of events in the North East –http://www.raindropstorainbows.co.uk/events-2 that received extensive media coverage and included creative writing sessions for mums to music gigs.
1st May – Families and Friends Opening Event , which was a closed event specially for families and individuals with an interest in Maternal Mental Health
Networking Event – An event aimed at professionals , including the NHS, Local Authority, Councillors , Universities and other organisations with an interest in Maternal Mental Health.
2nd – Creative Writing Workshop with Dr Natalie Scott
3rd May Creative Art with Claire Baratt
4th May – Songwriting with Marie Marx
5th May – Closing Event and Artwork Function
The Beeches Family Fun Day was an event held by staff and former patients of the Derby Mother and Baby Unit to raise funds to further enhance the delivery of patient care on the ward , whilst celebrating the recovery of mums that have accessed the service http://www.derbyshirehealthcareft.nhs.uk/about-us/latest-news/maternal-mental-health-focus-of-derby-family-fun-day/
Southern Health Foundation Trust Health visitors ran a series of 13 free events across Hampshire during the week at children and community centres. There was also a fantastic news report on BBC South Today on the health visiting service and it’s support to mums with maternal mental illness.
Netmums ran an online ‘Drop in clinic’ for mums to message during the week for support and advice. Information can be found here https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/drop-clinic-984/maternal-mental-health-995/
The Women’s Resource and Development Agency provided information about maternal mental health and general wellbeing in women’s centres across Northern Ireland.
On Tuesday 2nd May they delivered and setup ‘Inspiration Points’ stocked with leaflets on issues such as post-natal depression, anxiety and other mental health problems that can arise for mums throughout the women’s centre network.
They charted their progress online using #roadtowellbeing after kicking off the day with a launch event at Falls Women’s Centre. This event included testimony from ‘Have You Seen That Girl?’ founder and Inspire’s maternal wellbeing ambassador, Lindsay Robinson who shared her story of post-natal depression and recovery, and the work she now does to support and inspire other women
The Smile Group hosted a special themed family #saturdaysocial and led a creative session where parents and children did handprints to show we are all part of a community that joins people together in times where they can feel lonely. They also hosted craft themed sessions at their group to encourage creative expression http://www.thesmilegroup.org/
The Association of Postnatal Illness ran a series of online chats during the week on their Facebook channel – https://www.facebook.com/events/661291170724487/?ti=cl
Becoming Families in Worcestershire shared recovery stories via their social media channels https://www.becomingfamilies.co.uk/
Mothers for Mothers in Bristol held a series of events including massage and paper flower bouquet sessions https://www.mothersformothers.co.uk. Mums Aid in London held an event at Brookhill Children’s Centre to inform local mums about their support services https://mums-aid.org
The Mums Wellbeing Group in Manchester ran a great series of events including an art and creative writing workshop, a cake club and a showcase.
Acacia in Birmingham launched their new website and a brand new film that profiled four mothers and their journey to recovery with support from Acacia http://www.acacia.org.uk
The Global Women’s Mental Health Seminar held a conference on 4th May http://www.mcrglobal.org/events-updates/global-womens-mental-health-seminar/
Health Improvement with Glasgow Life, Clyde Gateway and Quarriers held an event on 3rd May at Parkhead Library in Glasgow to celebrate the week. Information was available on Quarriers’ new service in Glasgow; Café Stork (a drop-in café for new and expectant parents café run by Health Improvement and Thriving Places).
Bluebell Care in Bristol held a fantastic series of events during the week http://www.bluebellcare.org/
Mon 1st – Local support awareness raising
Tues 2nd – Health & Wellbeing group for parents & babies – a time to talk about feeding, sleep & play
Tues 2nd – Antenatal Yoga for Wellbeing class
Weds 3rd – Woolly Weds – come and knit, crochet and natter, play-workers to mind little ones
Thurs 4th – Drop-in Coffee Morning – the team will be there to listen, play-workers for little ones
Fri 5th – Feel Good Friday – book for a treatment session & paint nails, play-workers for little ones
Sat 6th – Clothes Swap – an evening fundraiser for developing services in South Gloucestershire
Cocoon in London offered a week long program of activities promoting emotional wellbeing and raising awareness of perinatal mental health issues. They teaming up with a number of professionals who volunteered their time in aid of the awareness week, including gentle sleep consultant, Mindfulness instructor and baby yoga instructor! https://www.facebook.com/PNDSupportNW6/photos/a.1477512595803870.1073741830.1477435262478270/1903623106526148/?type=3
Action on Postpartum Psychosis initiated Music 4 Mums inviting everyone to ‘Sing, Play and Perform’ to raise awareness of the need for adequate maternal mental health care services in the UK. Details of the events held are here https://www.app-network.org/m4mums/music-4-mums-events/.
The Birth Trauma Trust supported the week with a range of activities http://www.birthtraumatrust.org/maternal-mental-health-week-2017/
Maternal Mental Health Western Isles held a display in the Western Isles Hospital May 1 – May 4 to coincide with this week and World Maternal Mental Health Day on 3 May. This included some stats from the survey that they undertook at the end of last year.
Aware NI put together some information on perinatal mental health to support the awareness week https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1486072521445654&id=117685461617707
Kate at Hurrah For Gin posted this lovely and honest post during the week https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1725740377441024&substory_index=0&id=726296134052125 . Closer magazine also covered this story https://closeronline.co.uk/real-life/news/mum-blogger-hurrah-gin-dark-side-parent-mental-health-anxiety-depression.
Juno PNMH Edinburgh ran a series of video blogs throughout the week on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/junopmhsedinburgh/videos/1102619323216444/
Sling Swing Lincoln asked people to support the week by changing their profile picture on social media to help raise awareness.
The Every Mum Movement launched its new website during the week https://www.facebook.com/everymummovement/posts/1789659268028678
Maternal Mental Health Scotland Change Agents shared information about services and support networks that an help you https://www.facebook.com/maternalmentalhealthscotlandchangeagents/posts/1784042411622730
Denise Welch spoke to ITV News as part of the week to help to spread awareness and get people talking about depression. More details are here https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1305033456260945&id=185016708262631 and you can watch the news report here http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2017-05-03/denise-welch-urges-others-to-open-up-about-mental-health/
Sketchy Mama produced some artwork for the week https://m.facebook.com/sketchymuma/photos/a.388673807983931.1073741828.386901668161145/680442588807050/?type=3
Articles and Blogs
World Maternal Mental Health Week: Post-natal depression, perinatal anxiety, psychosis, PTSD and others
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: PTSD and me.
Maternal Mental Health Awareness
Maternal Health Awareness – Its okay not to be okay
Maternal Mental Health Awareness
Maternal mental health week
Maternal Mental Health
Thank you to everyone who made the campaign such a success. Thank you to the mums and families we wanted to help and we so hope the week provided you with hope that you will get better and signposted you to support . We received a message from a mum a little while ago to say the week was a key part of her coping during the early weeks of motherhood. She says she felt like there was a whole army of people pushing her forward to feeling like herself again. She wrote that she had the deepest gratitude for all the hard work and commitment of everyone who was involved in the week .
It’s this kind of message that shows WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!!!!
The second annual UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week will be taking place 30th April until 6th May 2018. If you would like further information :
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/PerinatalMHPartnershipUK/
Twitter – @PMHPUK
Perinatal Mental Health Partnership Membership:
Eve Canavan – @eviecanavan
Beth Bone – @BB576
Rosey Adams – @PNDandMe
Dr Stephanie DeGiorgio – @DrSdeG
Dr Andy Mayers – @DrAndyMayers
Bluebell Care – @BluebellCare
Smile Group – @TheSMILEGroup
Raindrops to Rainbows – @R2R_pnd
Kathryn Grant – @katgrant30