All posts by Amy Tubb

Independent evaluation highlights impact of the MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign over past five years

Download full report Download summary paper

Today, WSA Community Consultants and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) publish the results of an independent five-year evaluation of the MMHA’s campaigning work. The report, titled ‘Turning the Map Green: Evaluating the Everyone’s Business Campaign 2016–2021’, provides a broad, objective view of the MMHA’s efforts, using robust evidence* to measure the Campaign’s impact. Continue reading Independent evaluation highlights impact of the MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign over past five years

Winter 2021 Everyone’s Business eBulletin out now!

In the final eBulletin of 2021, we share the latest news from our Everyone’s Business campaign and the perinatal mental health (PMH) community, including:

    1. New recommendations for PMH following the latest MBRRACE report
    2. Reflections on what 2021 has meant for PMH care from those delivering essential services
    3. Campaign updates from across the UK
    4. MMHA’s CEO appointment and an exciting new job opportunity.

Download now

Help us keep the needs of women, families, and PMH services in focus by sharing the eBulletin with your network.

On Twitter and Instagram, please tag @MMHAlliance and use #EveryonesBusiness.

Get it in Welsh!

eBulletins published since summer 2020 are also available in Welsh.

 

Maternal Mental Health Alliance appoints new Chief Executive

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Laura Seebohm as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Laura brings a vast amount of experience from her 25 years in the statutory and voluntary sectors, most recently as Executive Director for External Affairs at Changing Lives. Her knowledge of policy at a local and national level, lived experience inclusion, and system change practice is sure to benefit MMHA’s work greatly.

Commenting on her appointment, Laura said:

“I am passionate about this role which brings together fundamental elements of my career and my longstanding respect for the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. The opportunity to impact maternal mental health care for women across the UK is a responsibility I embrace. Building on the impressive legacy of the founders, I will strive to serve the needs of women, and work with a diverse and inspirational membership and the Alliance’s many other stakeholders.”

Luciana Berger, Chair of the MMHA, said:

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Laura to the Maternal Mental Health Alliance early next year. Laura’s skilled leadership and deep policy knowledge will help the Alliance to do even more to ensure all women, babies and families in the UK have equal access to the perinatal mental health support they need to recover and thrive. The ongoing effects of the pandemic have taught us that this work is more critical than ever.”

Laura will take over from interim CEO, Justin Irwin, from February 2022. The Board thanks Justin for his leadership during this period of transition.

 

Suicide remains the leading cause of direct maternal death in first postnatal year

Today, 11th November 2021, MBRRACE-UK published their latest Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in the UK and Ireland.

The Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care 2021 report investigates the deaths of women during or up to one year after pregnancy between 2017 and 2019. MBRRACE examines the reasons why each of the women died and what can be done to improve care in future.

Key maternal mental health findings

Mental health remains one of the leading causes of maternal death during pregnancy and the first postnatal year:[1]

      1. Maternal suicide is still the leading cause of direct (pregnancy-related) death in the year after pregnancy.
      2. Almost a quarter of all deaths of women during pregnancy or up to a year after the end of pregnancy were from mental health-related causes.
      3. Assessors felt that improvements in care might have made a difference in outcome for 67% of women who died by suicide.

Continue reading Suicide remains the leading cause of direct maternal death in first postnatal year

Occupational therapy and perinatal mental health

To mark Occupational Therapy Week 2021, the MMHA invited Dr Sally Payne, Professional Adviser for Children, Young People and Families at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and Debra Jeffery, Specialist Perinatal Community Occupational Therapist, to share their thoughts on the vital role of occupational therapy in supporting women’s perinatal mental health. Continue reading Occupational therapy and perinatal mental health

WRDA and the Mas Project: lived experience insights

Guest blog by Clare Anderson, Mas Project Coordinator, Women’s Resource and Development Agency

Who is MMHA’s new member WRDA?

The Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) has a vision of a fair and equal society where women are empowered and are a visible force for change and influence in all areas of life. The Mas project (Maternal Advocacy & Support), in partnership with eight women’s centres in the Belfast, Lisburn and Derry area, offer peer support to women who are experiencing perinatal mental health problems. The project also provides a platform for women to talk about their experiences in the healthcare system and identify service areas that could be improved or developed for pregnant and postnatal women in Northern Ireland. [1] Continue reading WRDA and the Mas Project: lived experience insights

Laura-Rose’s story

“With the right care, there will be more positive experiences and LGBT+ people will be more likely to reach out if they are struggling with their perinatal mental health.”

Laura-Rose’s story (London)

When my wife and I first started on our path towards parenthood, we struggled to find any LGBT+ women, people or organisations that could offer us guidance and support. This resulted in our journey being a difficult one and left us feeling very isolated.

We had no one to talk to and share similar experiences with when our fertility treatment failed or when Stacey had a miscarriage and we lost our baby; something that deeply affected my mental health. As the non-biological (non-bio) mother I was merely treated as a bystander.

Struggling with mental health

When our eldest child was born, things didn’t get any easier. Like many LGBT+ parents, we experienced a lack of understanding and outright discrimination. For example, the day after our daughter arrived, I tried to speak to the doctor, but she refused to deal with me and said, “Get her out. I don’t want her. I want the ‘real’ mum.”

This incident, and other frequent microaggressions, deeply affected me. I felt anxious and stressed because I consistently felt I was being judged and needed to validate myself as a mother and partner in many situations.

Creating our own community

LGBT Mummies Tribe logo featuring illustrated mothers, parents, children and babies standing together in a row

It was this lack of support and prejudice that inspired us to set up The LGBT Mummies Tribe. It’s a global organisation that supports LGBT+ women and people on the path to parenthood and works with the government, NHS and other medical organisations to improve policies and mental health support for biological and non-bio mothers and parents.

We believe it’s crucial that healthcare professionals receive mandatory education and training to support LGBT+ parents, mentally and physically. The LGBT+ community needs well-informed people caring for them who understand their journeys and what they may be experiencing. With the right care, there will be more positive experiences and LGBT+ people will be more likely to reach out if they are struggling with their perinatal mental health.

The LGBT Mummies Tribe

For more information about The LGBT Mummies Tribe, visit their website or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 


If the content of this story 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 that may be able to help.

Summer 2021 Everyone’s Business eBulletin out now!

Front page of the Summer 2021 MMHA eBulletinThe summer 2021 eBulletin is out now with all the latest from MMHA’s Everyone’s Business campaign and the UK perinatal mental health (PMH) community, including:

    1. The launch of MMHA’s new #MakeAllCareCount phase of campaigning
    2. Updates from the devolved nations
    3. Research into Black, Asian and minority ethnic women’s access to PMH care.

Download now

Please help us keep PMH and the needs of women and families in the spotlight by sharing the eBulletin with those in your network.

On Twitter and Instagram, please tag @MMHAlliance and #EveryonesBusiness.

Translations

All of our eBulletins since summer 2020 are also available in Welsh.

 

Hearts and Minds launch interactive map of VCS perinatal mental health services across England

Guest blog by Natalie Nuttall, Lead Coordinator, The Hearts & Minds Partnership

As three perinatal mental health charities with a collective track record of more than 30 years, Acacia Family Support, Bluebell Care and Smile Group came together in 2020 with a vision to connect, support and celebrate the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS). And so, The Hearts and Minds Partnership was born, with a three-year funding commitment from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Mapping VCS services

There is no shortage of goodwill, passion, or skill in our sector, and we’ve been keen from the outset to recognise this. Working with our digital partner, Rocketmakers, we carried out user experience research and listened to the wider community to inform the development of a website featuring resources and an interactive map of VCS services in England to signpost parents and healthcare professionals (HCPs) to.

After many months of engagement, development, and refinement, we’re thrilled to announce that the website and map are live!

Continue reading Hearts and Minds launch interactive map of VCS perinatal mental health services across England