The Toolkit

Whilst there has been significant progress within perinatal mental health care, urgent action is required to address shocking inequities, systemic racism, and funding gaps.

Drawing on insights from Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) Lived Experience Champions, member organisations, and local contacts, the Toolkit offers creative ideas and practical tools to empower individuals in shaping perinatal mental health care at the local level. The Toolkit explores innovative examples of ongoing efforts to bring about this much-needed change.

Together, we will make change happen.

Read the user guide

Explore the toolkit:

Breaking barriers

This section is split into two, looking at examples of the barriers women and families may face to both accessing perinatal mental health services and to local involvement in groups and organisations.

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Demonstrating impact

Understand how groups and organisations can demonstrate the impact of local initiatives. Ideas here may be useful for those seeking funding or to highlight gaps in current perinatal mental health services.

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Making connections

Explore ways to connect with local organisations and advocate for positive changes in perinatal mental health services. Find examples and ideas for local groups and individuals looking to collaborate and influence their local landscape.

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Sharing stories

Learn how to share stories about perinatal mental health in a safe way. Ideas here may be useful to local groups engaging those with lived/living experience, as well as for people with lived/living experience wanting to tell their stories safely.

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The AMV Toolkit Workbook

This companion workbook summarises the tips and templates contained within the full online AMV Toolkit to help you take action.

Download now
  • Cisnormativity: assumption that everyone is cisgender, i.e. people whose gender matches the body they were born with.
  • Continuity of care: ensuring someone receives consistent care from the same healthcare professional or team throughout their treatment.
  • Evergreen content: content which remains relevant, such as FAQs, statistics and broad statements.
  • Futureproofing: considering someone’s future situation as well as their current one. For example, knowing that a child might see their mother's story online later could change what is written about her, listen and understand the specific needs of the person sharing their story.
  • Heteronormativity: concept that heterosexuality is preferred or normal mode of sexual orientation.
  • Neurodivergent: describes someone whose brain functions in a way that is not deemed ‘normal’ (neurotypical). This can include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and others.
  • Neurodiverse: describes a group of neurodivergent people, or a mix of neurotypical and neurodivergent people.
  • Perinatal mental health: you may have heard the terms "perinatal mental health" and "maternal mental health" used interchangeably. Both refer to mental health during pregnancy and up to two years after giving birth.
  • Safe space: a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.
  • Systemic change: a change which affects the whole system, not just individual parts of the system.
  • Systemic racism: the oppression of a racial group to the advantage of another as perpetuated by inequity within interconnected systems (such as political, economic, and social systems).
  • Trauma-informed care: understanding how people and their behaviours are shaped by traumatic experiences.  
Notes & information about the Toolkit
  • If the content of this resource causes you to think of anything that has happened to you or someone you know and you feel upset, worried or uncomfortable, please see our support page for a list of services who may be able to help.
  • This resource uses the term ‘mothers’ and ‘mums’, but we recognise that perinatal mental health issues affect women, gender diverse individuals and people whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. It is vital that care systems take an inclusive approach to provide support to all birthing people for their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Where possible, this resource replicates the language used by specific organisations and groups in relation to race and ethnicity.
  • Subject to funding, it may be possible to translate the toolkit into different languages in future.
  • Please note the MMHA is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Contact if you have any questions about the toolkit or suggestions for content.


A huge thank you to everyone who has provided content, attended workshops, given feedback and contributed to the Amplifying Maternal Voices Toolkit in other ways.

Thanks goes to the MMHA Lived Experience Champions who have been part of the process at every stage and have helped ensure the insightful voice of lived and living experience has informed the work.

Our gratitude also goes to the following organisations who have shared their expertise so generously:

We'd also like to thank the healthcare professionals across Birmingham and Croydon who supported this work, and for all they do to care for families.

The AMV partnership

The Amplifying Maternal Voices project is a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation and the MMHA which aims to improve mothers’ and families’ access to support for their perinatal mental health. The MMHA would like to thank the Mental Health Foundation for making this work possible.

Find out more about the project