Priority setting in local services with use of the MABIM mapping tool

by Julia Thompson. Julia is a Health Improvement Principal in the Children’s Public Health Team at Sheffield City Council. Prior to her role in Sheffield she has held a variety of positions in health and local government at local, national and regional levels, and has a particular interest in strengthening partnerships across organisations and with communities to improve wellbeing and outcomes. Julia has been Sheffield’s lead for perinatal and infant mental health lead for over two and a half years.

Sheffield has been working hard to improve support for women experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period through better co-ordinated treatment and support.

At the heart of this has been our integrated perinatal mental health care pathway which was finalised in 2015. Developed with the involvement of health visiting, midwifery, primary care and specialist services, this is now the agreed model of support in the city and the basis on which professionals work together.  The care pathway provides a strong foundation for improving identification and referral and developing services, but we know that more work is needed to improve women’s experiences of care and to achieve better outcomes. Continue reading Priority setting in local services with use of the MABIM mapping tool

RCM launches new report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has published a new report entitled; Every mother must get the help they need*.

The report is inspired by Lucie Holland’s 2015 petition. Lucie Holland’s sister died in tragic circumstances as a result of a devastating mental illness.  Lucie subsequently set up a petition in 2015 about the urgent need for better awareness and care for those affected by perinatal mental illness. This petition went viral with thousands of signatures, and many people left heartfelt comments about their own experiences.

Continue reading RCM launches new report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’

Perinatal Mental Health in Wales Project – surveys to complete

NSPCC Cymru/Wales, The National Centre for Mental Health and Mind Cymru have joined forces to work together on a project which investigates perinatal mental health services in Wales.

Over the next year, they will be working together to map out what services are available across statutory and voluntary sectors in Wales for women experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties, and explore what it is like for women and their partners in Wales to live with, and manage these types of illnesses.

To help them do this they have launched online surveys, They would like to hear from midwives, health visitors, mental health teams who are practising in Wales and third sector organisations who provide perinatal mental health support to women. The link to this survey can be found here.

They would also like to hear from women and their partners (18+) affected by perinatal mental health problems (diagnosed or undiagnosed) in Wales. The link to this survey can be found here.

MMHA’s response to NCT’s Hidden Half survey results

Today the NCT launches its ‘Hidden Half’ campaign and releases new findings which show that half (50%) of mothers experienced mental health problems at some time during pregnancy or within the first year of their child’s birth. These can include postnatal depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and postpartum psychosis.

Nearly half (42%) of new mothers’ mental health problems did not get picked up by a doctor or other health professional.

The research also highlights how the six-week postnatal check-up is failing to pick up mental health issues in mothers. The routine health check, six weeks after a baby’s birth, is a vital opportunity to uncover any physical and mental health problems for women and babies.

The NCT is calling for an improvement to the six-week postnatal check-up to reduce the number of mothers who don’t get diagnosed and treated properly. They say that extra funding would go a long way to reduce the pressure GPs face in supporting new mums.

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, responds to the survey:

“The findings of this valuable survey by the NCT reveal that many new mums with mental health problems are still not getting the support they need. This matches the results of other studies showing that, when it comes to mums’ mental health, the NHS is often not meeting its own quality standards.

The six week check is a golden opportunity to identify women experiencing poor mental health and provide vital help. GPs are often doing their best but more resources and training are desperately needed. Improvements are required in the GP surgery and across the rest of the healthcare system, so that women and their families get access to the quality of services they should expect from the NHS, no matter where they live.”

To read the full story and report:

To sign up to the Hidden Half campaign:




Putting fathers in the picture


by Sharin Baldwin. Sharin is a trained nurse, midwife and health visitor and a keen advocate for health visiting. Her research interest is the mental health and wellbeing of fathers, an area that is fairly neglected. She is currently undertaking a PhD in this field at King’s College London and is the first health visitor to be awarded a Clinical Doctoral Fellowship by NIHR.

Fathers’ mental health and wellbeing has attracted more media attention is recent months but despite this there is very little support out there for new fathers. We know that as men become fathers they face many changes and new challenges, as women do, which can increase stress and have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.

Continue reading Putting fathers in the picture



Intergenerational Mental Health: keeping parents and babies in mind in perinatal mental health work

Join practitioners, service users and academics to explore how a whole-family approach can break the intergenerational cycle of mental health problems.

The conference aims to highlight ground-breaking academic research, showcase innovative practice, and tell the stories of perinatal mental health service users across the UK. It will cover topic areas such as:

  • the relationship between maternal mental health and parent-infant relationships
  • trauma-focused care and taking an intergenerational perspective
  • using evidence-based psychological approaches in your practice – such as videofeedback and mentalisation
  • ·working holistically with families experiencing domestic abuse
  • assessing psychosocial risk and resilience in complex cases

Speakers include international experts, including:

  • Susie Orbach, Psychotherapist and author
  • Mark Hanson, Professor of Cardiovascular Science, University of Southampton
  • Shiela Redfern, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Clinical Services, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Louise Howard, Head of Women’s Mental Health, King’s College London & Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist
  • Claudia Buss, Professor of Medical Psychology, Charité University Medicine Berlin
  • Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry, King’s College London & Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

Tickets available here.


We welcome posters showing innovative research and/or practice. Submit your poster here.


The Maternal Mental Health Alliance introduces the first perinatal mental health awards. These inaugural awards will recognise best practice and achievement in:

Perinatal mental health education and training award

This award is for an education, training or service provider that has shown innovation and leadership in improving perinatal mental health practice knowledge and competence through teaching or training. This could be either a local or a national initiative, be face-to-face or digital.

Anti-stigma award for perinatal mental health awareness raising

This award is for a project, initiative or campaign that has significantly raised awareness around perinatal mental health difficulties and in doing so contributed to reducing the stigma of speaking out and seeking help.

Perinatal peer support award

This award is for a project, programme or service that is delivered in the NHS, Local Authority or third sector that delivers a peer-support programme for parents and their families in the perinatal period. Programmes that are not exclusively peer-support-based will be considered as long as peer-support comprises a significant component of the work.

Partner involvement award

This award is for a project, programme or service that is delivered in the NHS, Local Authority or third sector that shows innovation in how they engage and involve partners in their work – both in terms of how they support partner wellbeing in the perinatal period and also in relation to including them in their work with as critical supporters and carers of the mother.

Big Lottery transgenerational service award

This award is for a project, programme or service that is delivered in the NHS, Local Authority or third sector, and displays excellence through giving equal weight to supporting parental (or even grandparental) mental health alongside the parent-infant relationship during the perinatal period.

We would like to invite nominations for each of these awards. Nominees should note that:

  • Anyone can submit a nomination for an award, and we encourage nominations from a range of sources including perinatal specialists, users of perinatal services and their family members, academics, and other professionals
  • All awards are open to nominees working within the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • All award submissions will be judged by a multi-disciplinary panel including judges with lived experience of perinatal mental health difficulties, and winners will be selected based on a pre-established scoring system

Do you know a project which deserves to be recognised?  Nominate it here. Deadline: 31 July 2017.

Tickets available on Eventbrite

Funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund

MABIM Masterclass 3 : Midwives and health visitors in perinatal mental health

What is it? This short report captures the key messages from our third masterclass event which was on the role of midwives and health visitors in perinatal mental health services.

What is it for? The document contains top tips from our expert speakers who work as midwives and health visitors within perinatal mental health.  The importance of the specialist role is included. It provides information and examples of how important the roles are within perinatal mental health and the way the specialist role can be valuable for the wider team.

How can it be used?  Commissioners, providers and clinicians can use the top tips to learn lessons from those who have experience in midwifery and health visiting and how these roles can be enhanced to provide specialist support in perinatal mental health care. Please tweet and share the report with anyone who might find it useful.

National infant mental health week: 12-16 June

This week, 200 organisations will come together to highlight infant mental health week. The theme of the week is ‘Begin Before Birth’, which emphasises supporting a healthy pregnancy experience for expectant parents as a key opportunity to ensuring the best possible start in life for every child.

By the time a child turns three years old, the foundations for all learning and relationships will have been formed, with their brain development during this time critical to future success at school and in life. The 2.4 million babies who will be born in the UK before 2020 represent our future leaders, thinkers and innovators – it is vitally important we give them strong foundations right from the start, with everyday physical and emotional experiences they have with parents, families, caregivers and communities contributing a crucial part of those foundations.

Key areas of pregnancy which continue to require future support are supporting the relationship between couples, improved antenatal assessment and classes and improved workplace culture.

Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, says: “The Maternal Mental Health Alliance welcomes the focus on pregnancy for this year’s Infant Mental Health Awareness Week. It is so important for us all to understand the sensitivity of the baby, both during pregnancy and after, to relationships in the family and to the mother’s mental wellbeing.”

Further information can be found on the web and social media pages below.


1001 Critical Days Manifesto

Building great Britons –


Video Interaction Guidance in a Nutshell

VIG blog

Hilary Kennedy is an Educational Psychologist, Honorary Senior Lecturer UCL and AVIGuk National Trainer and Supervisor. She is a key developer of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) in the UK and is involved in supporting research in the effectiveness of VIG as an intervention.


The recent MABIM ‘introduction to Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)’ seminar explored the value of VIG in supporting mums and babies where perinatal mental illness existed.  In this blog, Hilary explains the intervention and how widely it can be used to support the parent-infant relationship. Continue reading Video Interaction Guidance in a Nutshell

Invitation to tender – perinatal mental health peer support

Comic Relief, in partnership with the MMHA, are currently undertaking a tender process to commission the development of a set of quality assurance principles for peer support in perinatal mental health. This forms part of Comic Relief’s Maternal Mental Health Strategy.

We are interested in bids from individuals or organisations and from partnerships of interested bodies who can demonstrate expertise and experience of quality assurance theory and concepts and their application in voluntary and community sector environments.. The link to the invitation to tender can be found here, and the deadline for applications is 5 July 2017.

We hope that the development of bespoke Quality Assurance principles will assure the quality and consistency of online and face-to-face peer support in perinatal mental health. They will also form a key part of wider work to ensure such peer support is safe, accessible to all, high quality, evidence-based, trusted by clinical services and achieves maximum impact. We envision that the development of these principles will be delivered by 2018.

Download the invitation to tender

Please forward your application, or any questions regarding the tender, to Inés Meza-Mitcher, Membership and Communications Assistant for the MMHA (