All posts by Anna France-Williams

Latest campaign e-bulletin published

The Everyone’s Business campaign e-bulletin is now out, including details on new campaign maps launched, an England update, perinatal mental health discussed at Scottish parliament and a briefing paper from the Centre for Mental Health now available.

Download it here.

Please circulate far and wide and if you are on Twitter please retweet the e-bulletin from @MMHAlliance using the hashtag #everyonesbusiness.

If you would like to receive the e-bulletins directly please sign up to our mailing list using the box on the right.

Maternal Mental Health Roundtable commitments published

Last Autumn, the MMHA Everyone’s Business Campaign and the Department of Health, represented by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price MP, co-hosted a roundtable meeting.

Attending this meeting were key national stakeholders who were brought together to discuss perinatal mental health. All organisations represented made pledges to help continue progress for perinatal mental health services.

The commitments have now been published and can be viewed here.

Continue reading Maternal Mental Health Roundtable commitments published

Elaine’s story

I ended up staying in a general psychiatric hospital for eight weeks…Being cared for without my son was not ideal.

Elaine’s story (Chester)

The birth of my son was very difficult. I had a retained placenta, which led to me haemorrhaging after he was born. A consequence of this traumatic experience was that I developed mild to severe postnatal depression, which eventually led to psychosis when my son was seven months old.

Given electroconvulsive therapy

Before my psychotic episode, I’d spoken to my GP, who prescribed me anti-depressants. I also joined a support group for six weeks. But things escalated and I ended up staying in a general psychiatric hospital for eight weeks. Being hospitalised without my baby was extremely difficult, and especially because I had to stop breastfeeding overnight. During my stay in the hospital, I was given ECT [electroconvulsive therapy] and worked with an occupational therapist. Following discharge, I was visited by a community psychiatric nurse.

More and better services

Being cared for without my son was not ideal. There needed to be more awareness then, as there needs to be more awareness now, of how perinatal mental health problems affect a woman and her family. We need to get more and even better specialist perinatal mental health services commissioned. If my feelings of shame had been effectively treated early on, and my family had been advised of ways to help me, I believe I would not have become so ill.


Charlie’s story

We need to put pressure on CCGs to provide more funding for sustainable services that are fit for purpose.

Charlie’s story (Bridport)

With all three of my children I struggled with perinatal mental health problems, including postnatal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. During these extremely difficult times, I received excellent support from a number of specialist perinatal mental health professionals. They included those working at my Mother and Baby Unit, midwives, community psychiatric nurses and health visitors. However, it was a struggle to get the help I needed; and the non-specialist support I was offered simply did not appreciate the intricacies of perinatal mental health.

Bonding activities

Something else that really helped me was a group called Growing Together at the children’s centre in Bridport. It was an intimate group of no more than eight families. Each week we went for an hour and a half and carried out a task to help us bond with our babies. We also made a scrap book, which we added to each week, reflecting on our activities and printing hand prints of our babies. The staff also took photos of us to put in it. It was great to be able to look back on and see how far we had come in terms of bonding and attachment and our mental health recovery.

More services needed

There are services out there which can help women suffering with perinatal mental health problems. But there simply aren’t enough of them; and if they are available, women are often struggling to access them. We need to put pressure on Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide more funding for sustainable services that are fit for purpose and which all women in need can access. I also think there’s an urgent need for greater help for the families of these women. My husband did not receive support from anyone, and that is a huge flaw in the system too.

International Fathers’ Mental Health Day

Today, June 18th, is International Fathers’ Mental Health Day, raising awareness globally about the need to get better support for dads.

Around 10% of fathers can experience mental health problems in the first year following the birth of their child. The international campaign is being led from the UK by Dr Andrew Mayers (a mental health campaigner and educator at Bournemouth University) and Mark Williams (a Bridgend dad who developed mental health problems after his wife experienced birth trauma, but is now a global campaigner for parents). They are working with partners in the USA and Australia.

Mark co-founded International Fathers’ Mental Health Day in 2016 with Dr Daniel Singley (a psychologist based in San Diego, California). Since then, the event has grown each year. Mark said, “We need to think family when it comes to perinatal metal mental and remember that if dad is the only one struggling that will impact on the whole family if unsupported.”

Throughout the day, there will be a series of blogs, stories, press releases and resources shared by charities, support groups, health professionals, and families who have experienced the impact of poor mental health in fathers. Key events include a Facebook Live session at 3pm, hosted by Dr Mayers from Bournemouth University via the International Fathers’ Mental Health Day Facebook page. There will use be a live Twitter chat at 19.00 (via #DadsMHDay).

Dr Mayers said “At the very least, we hope to raise awareness about fathers’ mental health and I really hope that we can encourage more men to come forward to seek help. The next challenge will be to ensure that we have the services and support networks to meet that demand.”


For more information, please contact:


@DrAndyMayers @markwilliamsFMH

New mums face gaps in vital specialist mental health services in Wales

Thousands of new mums in Wales who need treatment for mental health problems during pregnancy or following birth are facing different levels of specialist care based on where they live according to new research from NSPCC Cymru/Wales, Mind Cymru the National Centre for Mental Health and the Mental Health Foundation.

Continue reading New mums face gaps in vital specialist mental health services in Wales

Briefing paper launched on perinatal mental health

The Everyone’s Business Campaign has worked with the Centre for Mental Health and the Mental Health Challenge to produce a briefing paper on perinatal mental health.

The Mental Health Challenge was set by seven mental health charities working together to improve mental health across England and encouraging local authorities to take a proactive approach to tackling mental health.

Councillors across the country have signed up to become Mental Health  Member Champions, leading the way in tackling mental health inequalities in their area. This briefing is designed to help them in their work

In the briefing we have summarised the evidence and explained what local authorities can do to champion perinatal mental health.

Download the briefing paper.


MMHA welcomes announcement on specialist perinatal mental health teams across England

NHS England has just announced funding for a second wave of much needed specialist perinatal (pregnancy and postnatal) mental health community services. This follows the highly successful first wave of funding for 20 NHS areas in December 2016.

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance has been impressed to see the positive impact that the first wave of funding had on the rapid development of new services. These have brought real improvements in high quality specialised care for mums and babies in many parts of England*. Based on that experience, this second wave of funding looks set to give every mother and baby who needs it access to specialist perinatal mental health services that meet national quality standards, wherever they live in England. The Government pledged the necessary funding in 2014, and NHS England has delivered the services, the trained workforce, and the expert support to make this happen.

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said: “In over 30 years working for the NHS I have never seen any national programme produce such a rapid, effective and widespread transformation in services. These new, top quality services have led directly to life saving improvements in care for women and babies that will hugely reduce immediate and long term suffering. The new developments announced today in England look set to eliminate a long-standing and serious postcode lottery, and will undoubtably make England the world leader in mental health care for mothers and babies.”

Of course, as a campaigning Alliance we want to ensure these services are permanent, and that even more progress is made, to ensure that all mothers and babies have access to the full range of mental health care care they need. We now call for:

  • All CCGs in England to be ready to take over long term commissioning of these specialist perinatal mental health services in line with national quality standards, using the permanent funding they will be given for this purpose. 
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland governments to put in place plans and resources (as in England and Wales) to ensure women and families across all parts of the UK can access specialist perinatal mental health services wherever and whenever they need them. 
  •  The Welsh Government to enhance funding to perinatal mental health services to allow them to deliver care that meets national standards to mothers and babies throughout Wales.

*Please check out our maps which show where specialist services and gaps currently exist across the UK, and see details of our campaign to ‘Turn the Map Green’




Support For All: Why maternal mental health matters

This week (April 30 – 6 May) is the second annual UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness week, coordinated by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK. More than one in ten women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or in the first year of their baby’s life. Untreated, perinatal mental illness is one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and the first year after birth.

The members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance are committed to working together to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all women and their children in pregnancy and the first postnatal year. We want to ensure that care is provided across the pathway for women and their families.

Together with Comic Relief, we recently commissioned Mind and the McPin Foundation to develop a set of principles to help voluntary and community sector organisations ensure that their peer support programmes for mums with maternal mental health difficulties are safe and effective.

Our Campaign, Everyone’s Business, focuses on ensuring that women and families across the UK get access to specialist perinatal mental health services that meet national standards. Our recently launched new maps show where there are gaps in service provision. We want to turn the map green!

Our Mums and Babies In Mind project supports local leaders in four areas of England (Blackpool, Southend, Haringey and Gloucestershire) to improve care and quality of life for mums with mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year of life, and their babies. We capture and share the work we do to inform and inspire those who commission and provide services across the UK.

This week you can join the conversation about maternal mental health on social media using the hashtag #maternalMHmatters. Find out what is happening each day on our website or by following @PMHPUK on Twitter or joining the Facebook group.

Maternal mental health is everyone’s business.

UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week: Support For All

Last year, the first ever UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week took place, led by our member organisation, the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK. During the week, the second World Maternal Mental Health Day was celebrated on Wednesday 3rd May with countries around the world marking the day with events and campaigning activities.

This year the second UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Week is planned for 30th April to 6th May 2018.

The theme is ‘Support For All’ with a focus on enabling all families affected by perinatal mental illness to access the information and help they require for recovery. Throughout the week, the hashtag #maternalmhmatters will be used on social media.

The third World Maternal Mental Health Day will take place on Wednesday 2nd May with details on how to get involved here.

Continue reading UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week: Support For All