Photo of MMHA staff and board at away day in 2019

The team


We have a small part-time team of staff who are passionate about achieving our vision and supporting our members and champions. The team is made up of individuals with a broad range of interests, skills and lived experience.

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is governed by a Board of Trustees who are dedicated to helping us drive change for women and families affected by perinatal mental illness.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge Maternal Mental Health Alliance Royal PatronOur Royal Patron

Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was announced as the MMHA’s Royal Patron during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week on 6 May 2022.

We are honoured and delighted that The Princess of Wales has recognised and chosen to support our work by becoming Royal Patron. The Princess’ longstanding dedication to the Early Years and keen interest in mental health marry beautifully with the Alliance’s mission to ensure every mum, baby and family affected by perinatal mental health problems can access the right care and support necessary. We look forward to working with The Princess to make this goal a reality for all.

Our board

Made up of passionate clinicians, professionals, mothers, and fathers, the MMHA Board help set the organisation’s strategic direction, and support staff and members in the delivery of campaign objectives.

Luciana Berger

Photo of Luciana Berger Chair of the MMHA smiling at the camera

Luciana Berger is Chair of the MMHA and served as an MP for almost a decade. During her time in the Commons, she held prominent frontbench and backbench roles, including as the first-ever Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health. Luciana was also a leading member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee and presented the findings of the Committee’s inquiry into children and young people’s mental health to parliament.

Today she serves on the advisory board of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, and is Vice-President of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

An award-winning campaigner, Luciana has long called for increased awareness, parity of esteem, and improvement of mental health services. A keen photographer, Luciana is Mum to Amélie (5) and Zion (3).

Vice Chair
Kate Billingham

Kate has over 40 years’ experience of supporting women in their journey to motherhood, through health visiting, as Deputy Chief Nurse for England (2000-2006), developing national frameworks, and implementing evidence-based programmes.

Currently, Kate acts as an adviser to the Big Lottery Fund £200m A Better Start Programme and sits on the Royal Foundation steering group, advising the Duchess of Cambridge on early intervention.

Promoting the mental health of mothers has been a theme of her personal and professional life.

Iulia Avramescu

Iulia is the treasurer of MMHA and a Strategy Director in the London office of Strategy&, part of the PwC network. A senior strategist and finance professional with 20 years’ experience in advising telecoms and tech companies across the globe on a diverse range of strategic, financial and operational topics. Iulia is passionate about the societal impact of technology and its immense potential to transform the health sector. She brings strong board experience from her roles on the Board of Directors of Cholmley Gardens Ltd and Food4Heroes.

Iulia has been passionate about maternal mental health care ever since her first-time mum experience with her lovely baby boy Loki during the second COVID-19 lockdown and brings her passion to her role as an MMHA trustee and treasurer.

Sarah Arnold

Sarah is a practising solicitor with experience in Charity Law and Mental Health Legislation, a trustee of an international charity, and a mother with experience of postpartum psychosis.

Sarah has a particular and keen interest in marketing and has run several successful campaigns both whilst working in the charity sector and in legal practice.

Sakina Ballard

Sakina is a mother of two who has both lived and learned experience of perinatal mental health. Having been an actress prior to the birth of her first child, she experienced birth trauma and PTSD which changed the course of her maternal journey and ignited her interest in understanding, supporting and preventing perinatal mental health challenges. She is a therapeutically trained coach and mentor plus a trauma-informed antenatal educator working with women, their families and organisations.

Since 2017, Sakina has been involved in maternity policy at NHS England and NHS Improvement, development of training at Health Education England, and was co-chair of the Croydon Maternity Voices Partnership. She is currently Community Lead at MMHA member organisation Make Birth Better and works within an NHS Trust. Sakina’s passion is in facilitating voices to be heard and has a special interest in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Clare Dolman

Dr Clare Dolman is the Vice Chair of the MMHA and a Trustee of the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP). She is a freelance journalist who has had bipolar disorder since her early 20s. She experienced an episode of PP after the birth of her first child. Clare is the Vice-Chair of trustees for the national mental health charity Bipolar UK. She lectures on Public and Patient Involvement in Health Services at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, where she completed a PhD on decision-making about pregnancy and childbirth in women with bipolar disorder.

Henry Fay

As a former GP, Henry has a solid understanding of the constraints imposed on many of those who work in perinatal mental health and allied healthcare settings. Combined with his family’s own personal experience, this has enabled Henry to help in training a wide range of healthcare professionals including psychiatrists, obstetricians, nurses, and midwives, at regular national and regional conferences.

Christel Hawkins

Christel is passionate about equal access to mental health provision for all and brings both professional and personal experience to her role as trustee.

Christel’s 7 years at the Charity Commission gave her extensive knowledge of charity governance, including the legal responsibilities of charity trustees and charity accounting. She now works as a governance lead for a mental health charity that works with excluded young men, and previously as trustee and chair for a children’s mental health charity.

Ian Jones

Ian is Professor of Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at Cardiff University and Director of the National Centre for Mental Health. Ian has been an active supporter of MMHA for many years, providing clinical input and leadership to MMHA’s campaigning work.

Ian’s clinical interest is in developing services to identify women at risk of severe postpartum episodes and developing psychoeducation approaches for bipolar disorder. He is a trustee, past chair and scientific adviser to Action on Postpartum Psychosis.

In addition to his clinical and academic expertise, Ian brings an understanding of the health service in Wales and his experience of charity trusteeship to the board of MMHA.

Yasmin Mulji

Yasmin is a specialist registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, practising in London.

She is committed to resolving healthcare inequalities, particularly those experienced by women due to their ethnicity or socio-economic background. Her commitment is at a national and global level. Yasmin advocates for required healthcare policies based on her clinical expertise and practice, and one of her primary goals is for contraception provision for women, especially after giving birth, to be improved.

Yasmin’s approach in her clinical practice is a holistic one, recognising that a woman’s mental and physical wellbeing are interconnected. She knows that ensuring women have full access to healthcare that supports their wellbeing and improves their welfare is essential for a society to thrive.

Yasmin brings her passion, commitment, and clinical and personal experience to the MMHA board.

Lisa Williams

Lisa is currently the Business Support Manager for a mental health charity. As part of the Finance and Operations team, her role involves governance, HR and business support.

13 years ago Lisa found her passion in the charity sector, initially working for a young people’s charity, and volunteering within her local community. A proud mum of two boys, she currently offers volunteer support to the Helping Hands project, for individuals and families who are/have experienced domestic violence, and the Birthmark Support Group Charity.

Lisa strongly believes in diverse representation and listening to all perspectives. After a challenging time with her youngest, who was born just before the pandemic, she is keen to join and make a difference at the MMHA.

Our staff team

The MMHA has a small team of part-time staff dedicated to delivering our vision to see all women across the UK get consistent, accessible, and quality care and support for their mental health during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth.

Laura Seebohm

Laura has 25 years’ experience in the statutory and voluntary sectors. Prior to joining the MMHA, she worked at Changing Lives, a national charity supporting people experiencing challenging times such as homelessness, addiction and trauma. Laura set up women’s services for Changing Lives, before becoming Executive Director for External Affairs, leading on public affairs, policy, communications and innovation across the organisation.  True to MMHA’s roots, she believes in engaging closely with experts by experience to amplify their voice and influence decision-makers at a local, regional and national level.

Before joining Changing Lives, Laura worked as a Probation Officer and her background brings specialist expertise in supporting women with experience of the criminal justice system, sexual exploitation, and domestic abuse. Laura has experience of policy at a national level, multiple peer research projects and system change practices.  She sits on several boards, including as Chair of the Millfield House Foundation, and is an active member of the Better Way Network.

Communications Lead

Amy Tubb

Community Engagement Lead

Sian Drinkwater

Development and Programmes Manager

Rebecca Sheppard

Everyone’s Business Campaign Co-ordinators

  • Northern Ireland – Rhonda Murphy
  • Scotland – Annabelle Openshaw | Rebecca French (maternity leave)
  • Wales – Sarah Witcombe-Hayes

Head of Campaigns and Policy

Karen Middleton

Lived Experience Coordinator

Holly Latham

Engagement Manager

Maria Bavetta

Senior Team Administrator

Carrie Hammond

Senior Campaign Assistant

Toni Woodman


The coming together of clinical expertise and lived experience formed the powerful and lasting foundations of the MMHA.

Honorary President and Founding Chair
Dr Alain Gregoire

Dr Alain Gregoire is the former Chair, and now Honorary President of the MMHA.

Alain is a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group for Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health and has contributed to the development of policy, guidance, and clinical services in the UK and abroad. He is determined to ensure that all women have access to care for their mental health which is at least as good as the care available for their physical health during pregnancy and postnatally.

Dr Alain Gregoire is a retired Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Southampton. He set up and leads the national award-winning Hampshire Perinatal Mental Health Service, which provides comprehensive integrated community and inpatient services to women with severe mental health problems during pregnancy and postnatally. He has conducted research into perinatal services, the mental health of mothers in prisons, and other aspects of perinatal mental health. He began his postgraduate medical training in obstetrics, but on finding that the illest women, who also received the worst care, were those with mental health problems, he switched to psychiatry and completed his training at the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry.

Maternal Mental Health Alliance CEO Emily Slater

Founding Director
Emily Slater

Emily is the former CEO of the MMHA, and Development Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (GAMMH). Following her experience of postnatal depression after the birth of her son in 2009, Emily founded, with her partner, the campaigning organisation ‘Break the Silence – PNI’. In this capacity, Emily attended the first meeting of what became known as the MMHA. She has been instrumental in its funding and growth to a 100-plus-strong coalition of UK organisations with the shared vision to see all women across the UK get access to consistent and quality care and support for their mental health during pregnancy and postnatally.