All posts by Anna France-Williams

Second Maternal Mental Health Matters Week

Second UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Week

Last year was the first UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Week, led by one of our members, Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK. This year the week will be taking place again with an opportunity to communicate the message that maternal mental health matters. During the week, World Maternal Mental Health Day will also take place on Wednesday 2nd May.


When is it?

30th April 2018 – 6th May 2017 (2nd May World Maternal Mental Health Day)


What happened last year?

A number of activities happened throughout the week including nightly #PNDHours, live Facebook chats, coffee mornings, cake-baking, buggy walks and the opportunity to share resources and stories. A huge range of organisations took part with the aim of raising awareness of maternal mental health and supporting women and families. An evaluation of the week is here.


How you can get involved

  • Email to join the mailing list and be kept up to date
  • Come up with your own ideas to highlight that #maternalMHmatters
  • Use the hashtag #maternalMHmatters on social media
  • Join in with and support activities being organised by other groups


MMHA’s response to Government’s green paper on children’s mental health

Responding to the Government’s green paper for children’s mental health, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’, Clare Dolman, Vice Chair, of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), said:

“A child’s mental health is influenced from the moment of conception – and indeed before. We believe that Government should be setting out a strategy for preventing mental illness in childhood: using recent research to address the root causes of children’s mental health problems – not simply to treat them when the damage is already done.”

“We know that this Government and NHS England understand the importance of tackling perinatal mental health and we welcome the investment that they have made in specialist perinatal mental health community services, as described in the Green Paper.

“However, it will be critically important to ensure that these new funds for specialist services deliver well-planned services and are not wasted, absorbed elsewhere or misspent.  Clear accountability at the local level is essential to ensure the funding results in good quality services that meet national standards.

“Women need a range of services and pathways to be in place in every local area to support their mental health in the perinatal period. The MMHA is also calling for action across universal services, including ensuring that every maternity service has a Specialist Mental Health Midwife and Health Visitor.”

Read the MMHA’s full response to the consultation here.

Apply now for Wave 2 funding for specialist perinatal mental health services

Applications are now open for a second wave of funding for specialist perinatal mental health community services in England. These specialist teams are vital to help end the postcode lottery women currently face when trying to access these much needed services.

From today Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) footprints can bid for some of the £23 million pot NHS England has made available to help local areas expand existing specialist community teams or develop a small new team.

The MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign hopes all areas, which don’t have specialist community teams that meet the national quality standards, will submit a bid, as we know there are women throughout the UK who need to be able to access these services.

Clare Dolman, Vice-Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance welcomed the funding news saying, “I hope as many areas as possible develop a bid. We want to see this new wave of funding help Turn The Map Green so that all women and their families receive the care they need wherever they live in the country.”

Continue reading Apply now for Wave 2 funding for specialist perinatal mental health services

Top 10 tips for mums: Perinatal mental health

Top 10 tips for mums: Perinatal mental health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is supporting BBC Radio 5 live’s #mumtakeover – the UK’s biggest conversation about motherhood and mental health. Here, we share our top tips for looking after your mental health before and after pregnancy.

1) Be realistic

Many of us have visions of what motherhood might be like, perpetuated by images in the media and social media. Try not to put pressure on yourself by building up unrealistic ideals of the birth you’ll have; the activities you’ll do with your baby, or the mother you’ll be. Be prepared to be led by what you and your baby need, rather than a pre-existing plan.

You have produced a human being. That’s amazing. Looking after a baby is hard, so take it easy on yourself. Being ‘good enough’ is just fine!

2) Understand more about mental health and mental illness

In your preparations for becoming a mum, it can be useful to read more about the risk factors for mental illness and the signs of being unwell. This can help you to understand if and when you might need more help. It’s really valuable to share this information with your partner too, so that they can support you. There is a lot of useful information online, such as this fact sheet.

3) Plan and prepare

While you are pregnant, you can plan how you can look after your emotional wellbeing when baby arrives, and what you might do if you’re struggling. Tools like the Emotional Wellbeing plan can help with this.

If you have a history of serious mental illness, health professionals like your midwife and mental health team can plan with you how to manage your illness through pregnancy, birth and parenthood.

Activities like preparing meals to freeze and looking into local activities and groups in advance, can help to make things easier when baby arrives.

#MumTakeover videos on maternal mental health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is supporting BBC Five live’s #MumTakeover – the UK’s biggest conversation on mums and mental health. Check out some of the videos below,.

Video from former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain on trusting parental instinct:



Vlogger Mama C on the importance of having a good network to avoid loneliness during and after pregnancy:


How doulas might help those expectant mothers who’ve suffered trauma:


Video on mindfulness for babies:


World Mental Health Day 2017: mental health in the workplace

Today is World Mental Health day; an opportunity ‘for all stakeholders working in mental health to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.’

This year’s World Mental Health Day focusses on mental health in the workplace, a crucial part of the conversation around perinatal mental health. The Maternal Mental Health Alliance recognises the importance of a supportive workplace environment in promoting good maternal mental health. Initiatives such as shared parental leave and flexible working can support this.

If you’d like to get involved in supporting World Mental Health Day, sign the pledge on behalf of your team to commit to being proactive in your support of mental health in the workplace. You can also raise awareness on social media by using the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay or #WMHD17.

You can find out more about World Mental Health Day by clicking here.

PND Awareness Week 2017

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is supporting the second PND Awareness Week 4-10 September 2017. Our member organisation, PANDAS Foundation, held the first Pre and Postnatal Depression Awareness Week last year to highlight mental illnesses during and after pregnancy. This year, the focus is on prenatal mental health or mental health during pregnancy.

Find out how you can get involved here.


The role of a Liaison Psychiatrist in perinatal mental health

.By Susie Lingwood, Liaison Psychiatrist, North Middlesex University Hospital

Susie Lingwood is a Liaison Psychiatrist in north London. The Mums and Babies in Mind team are working with Susie and her colleagues to improve perinatal mental health services in Haringey and the surrounding boroughs. In this blog Susie explains what her role involves, what she has done to improve services and how mums with perinatal mental health problems and their babies are being supported locally.

I work as a Liaison Psychiatrist in the Mental Health Liaison Service at the North Middlesex University Hospital in north London. This isn’t a specific perinatal mental health role, but involves liaising between psychiatry and maternity (and other services). Barnet, Enfield and Haringey (BEH) Mental Health NHS Trust provide the hospital with the service. Our boroughs are currently rated red on the Maternal Mental Health Alliance map as there is no Specialist Perinatal Mental Health service but in October 2016 we were successful in receiving funding from NHS England to develop a specialist team here and I am looking forward to being involved in its development.

Continue reading The role of a Liaison Psychiatrist in perinatal mental health

I’m ready to thrive not just survive: Lindsay Robinson’s story

By Lindsay Robinson, mum, campaigner and advocate for maternal mental health

Lindsay is mum to Reuben and lives and works in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is dedicated to raising awareness of perinatal mental health and helping to improve support for all who struggle. She works with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

In September 2015 I was finally diagnosed with Postnatal Depression, two years after my son was born. I had experienced a long (undiagnosed) battle with the illness which made me severely ill – mentally, emotionally and physically. Having asked for help, twice, in the early months and not been treated, I then believed how I was feeling was my fault. I used to tell myself I’d “missed the mum gene”. Continue reading I’m ready to thrive not just survive: Lindsay Robinson’s story

RCM launches new report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has published a new report entitled; Every mother must get the help they need*.

The report is inspired by Lucie Holland’s 2015 petition. Lucie Holland’s sister died in tragic circumstances as a result of a devastating mental illness.  Lucie subsequently set up a petition in 2015 about the urgent need for better awareness and care for those affected by perinatal mental illness. This petition went viral with thousands of signatures, and many people left heartfelt comments about their own experiences.

Continue reading RCM launches new report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’