Celebrating 10 years of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance
The first-ever meeting of what became known as the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) took place in March 2011.
In attendance were clinicians with an interest in perinatal mental health who had been working locally for many years, organisations passionate about women’s experiences, and co-founders, consultant perinatal psychiatrist, Dr Alain Gregoire, and Emily Slater, experienced campaigner and survivor of severe postnatal depression.
The coming together of clinical expertise and lived experience formed the powerful and lasting foundations of the MMHA.
There was a flicker of hope that if enough organisations shared their limited resources and spoke with one voice, something could happen for the women and families who were suffering.
In the early days, attendance at Alliance meetings was organic, with people and organisations coming on-board through word of mouth. Everyone was, and continues to be, driven by a common desire to improve perinatal mental health care across the UK and end the unacceptable postcode lottery.
The Alliance today
The MMHA has grown steadily over the last decade, and we are delighted to say that we now have:
- over 100 influential member organisations campaigning together for change
- more than 30 lived experience champions, whose voices can be heard throughout our work
- over 150 passionate local and individual supporters
- a small staff team and Board, dedicated to achieving our vision
- a nationally recognised campaign that is achieving change for women and families affected by perinatal mental illness.
Like our membership, interest and awareness of perinatal mental illness has also increased. By making perinatal mental health Everyone’s Business, the Alliance has seen the development of much-needed specialist services, which are saving lives and helping women across the UK to recover. But there is so much more to be done.
We cannot be complacent. Collective action is still needed to help women and families access lifesaving maternal mental health treatment.
Sustaining our work
Now, more than ever, we need to draw attention to the silent suffering of women with mental health difficulties in pregnancy and the first year following childbirth but we can only do this with your support.
We have ambitious plans to build upon our experience from the past 10 years to ensure all women receive the right support and care, whatever their mental health needs, background and wherever they live in the UK.