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What a difference an hour can make – Training GPs in Perinatal Mental Health

By Dr Carrie Ladd, GP, Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Clinical Fellow in Perinatal Mental Health (@LaddCar)

Following our Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM) seminar for GPs on perinatal mental health in February, we asked Dr Carrie Ladd (far right) to reflect on the event and what was achieved.

Guinea Pigs playing Ping Pong. Not an image I have used in my power point presentations before but it certainly caught people’s attention. Let me explain…

Discussions have been happening for a while between the team at MABIM and Dr Judy Shakespeare (RCGP Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Champion) and towards the end of last year, things started to take shape. The idea was to develop a training package for GPs and other practice staff in perinatal mental health with a view to rolling out the package over the four locations in which MABIM works – Blackpool, Gloucestershire, Haringey and Southend.

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Commissioning in Perinatal Mental Health: Everyone’s Business

img_2427By Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead, Mums and Babies in Mind

Commissioning is a word that is widely used but not well understood. Commissioners are often seen as those who make the decisions and hold the purse strings, and commissioning as the process through which they use funding to procure (identify, obtain and purchase) local services. But few of us understand exactly what they do or how they work.

In fact, commissioning is much more than just procurement, and should not simply be seen as the role of those who have ‘commissioner’ within their job titles. Commissioning is the process of deciding how to use all the resources available in a system to improve citizens’ outcomes in the most efficient, effective and sustainable way. Whilst commissioners are ultimately accountable for this, they can’t do it alone and effective commissioning requires commissioners, managers, clinicians, and communities to work together to design and deliver pathways of care that produce the best outcomes for local populations. Continue reading Commissioning in Perinatal Mental Health: Everyone’s Business

Establishing a Lead Commissioner in Perinatal Mental Health

img_9948-1By Helen Ford, Lead Commissioner, Children, Young People and Maternity, NHS Gloucestershire/Gloucestershire County Council

Helen Ford is lead commissioner for Children and Maternity Services at Gloucestershire CCG and Gloucestershire County Council and is the lead commissioner for perinatal mental health. The MABIM team are supporting Helen and the perinatal and infant mental health network in Gloucestershire to improve perinatal mental health services. We interviewed Helen about her role as lead commissioner, what the network have achieved and her vision for the future.

Q: How did the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health network in Gloucestershire begin?

The network started a number of years ago when we were trying to get a care pathway together for women with perinatal mental health problems. We wanted to know what each person’s role and responsibility was within the different services and how we could work together better. Continue reading Establishing a Lead Commissioner in Perinatal Mental Health

Training Gloucestershire health visitors to promote mums’ and babies’ mental health

dsc_0027By Catherine Whitcombe, Locality Practice Teacher (Infant Mental Health Portfolio), Gloucestershire

When mums experience mental health problems, it can make it more difficult for them to bond with their babies and provide the sensitive care their babies need. In this blog, Catherine Whitcombe talks about the work health visitors are doing in Gloucestershire to promote mums’ and babies’ mental health. Catherine also spoke at last week’s Babies in Mind seminar about the use of the Neonatal Behavioural Observation tool. You can see a summary of the seminar here https://steller.co/s/6SAzaW57Nju

In December 2014 the health visiting service in Gloucestershire provided me and a colleague with the opportunity to complete the Neonatal Behavioural Observation (NBO) training. The aim was to gain a greater knowledge about, and learn new skills in supporting parents in understanding their babies.

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Developing a perinatal mental health strategy

julie-juliff2By Julie Juliff, Head of Maternity Services for Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group

Julie Juliff is Head of Maternity Services for Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group. Mums and Babies in Mind is working with leaders from across services in Haringey to support their work to ensure mums and babies in the perinatal period are given a high level of care. Here Julie talks about the importance of developing a strategy for perinatal mental health services, how she went about doing this and how other leaders can follow in her footsteps.

If a woman needs specialist perinatal mental health services in Haringey, Enfield or Barnet it is currently a postcode lottery of home address and choice of birth location as to whether she will receive this care. For women, their partners and families it is difficult to access appropriate mental health care in our area. In order to improve this it is essential that there is local agreement in how services should be commissioned, designed and delivered. Commissioners we have been working with in Haringey, Enfield and Barnet have identified that this local agreement needs to be one of our priority areas but have also expressed a concern that they might not be able to identify funds to provide these essential services.

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Standing on the shoulders of giants


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By Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead, Mums and Babies in Mind

On 28th November, NHS England announced the 20 areas of the UK that will be receiving the first phase of specialist perinatal mental health development funding. This funding is to support the creation or expansion of specialist perinatal mental health community teams.

This new funding is incredibly exciting: We’ve known for a long time that, while specialist services are critically important, there are huge gaps in provision. More than 40% of areas in England have no specialist community perinatal mental health team, and those that do often fail to reach accepted standards. In this tight financial climate, additional funding will be the enabler that many keen commissioners and providers need to close the gaps in provision.

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Mums and Babies in Mind team launch toolkit for developing specialist services

dsc_0089The Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM) team are delighted to launch their first toolkit to support the development of Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Community Teams. Alongside this, a compilation of Leaders’ Top Tips from the first MABIM masterclass in October is also available to download.

Download the toolkit for developing specialist services

Download the Leaders’ Top Tips report from our masterclass

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Dr Jo Black: My reflections on the International Marcé Conference

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By Dr Jo Black, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist with Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Associate National Clinical Director for Perinatal Mental Health for NHS England. (pictured here with Dr Giles Berrisford).

The Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health is dedicated to supporting research and services surrounding prenatal & postpartum mental health for mothers, fathers and their babies. The society has a biennial international conference to showcase cutting edge research and practice. This year’s conference took place in Melbourne at the end of September. In this blog, Dr Jo Black reflects on her experience.

I never expected to be moved by epigenetics. And yet at Marcé 2016 when Professor Rachel Yehuda described the intergenerational trauma in the children of holocaust survivors, the room was transfixed. The tale of human suffering into the second and third generations was emotional and unexpected.

Continue reading Dr Jo Black: My reflections on the International Marcé Conference

World Mental Health Day blog: Working through loss and trauma

unknownThis year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on how we respond to trauma. To mark this, the Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM) team spoke to clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Josephine Harrison, who works with mums who have lost a baby, had a traumatic birth experience or who have struggled with infertility. These issues are, understandably, incredibly difficult for mums. Josephine is linked to the North Middlesex University Hospital which serves people living in Enfield, Haringey and the surrounding areas. Haringey is one of the four areas where MABIM is working.

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Your perinatal mental health journey: How we can help

blackpool-workshop-newBy Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead, Mums and Babies in Mind

Anyone embarking on a journey should be clear on two things: Where they are starting from, and where they want to be. Without these two essential pieces of information, planning and successfully undertaking the journey will be difficult, if not impossible.

The Mums and Babies in Mind mapping tool aims to help local partnerships to answer these questions in relation to their journey to improve perinatal mental health services. Continue reading Your perinatal mental health journey: How we can help