Emma Brockwell is a women’s health physiotherapist in Surrey, with a particular passion for helping women to recover after birth. Here she writes about the links between physical and mental health in the postnatal period.
Pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing events that affect women both physically and mentally. Whilst their impacts affect women at different levels and in many different ways, it is rare to have a baby and not be affected in some capacity. As a women’s health physiotherapist I see that physical and mental health issues often go hand in hand, but as a system we are very poor at seeing and treating these conditions and giving women the holistic care that they need.
Continue reading Physical and Mental Health in the Postnatal Period →
Sophy Forman-Lynch has worked in the field of public health for 24 years in the UK, Pakistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and India.
She has worked in maternal and child health, mental health and well-being, alcohol and substance misuse, offender health, sexual health and asset-based community approaches.
Sophy is currently working for the Public Health Team in Warwickshire County Council with a focus on the ‘early years’. This includes involvement in the re-commissioning of health visiting services.
In 2016 Warwickshire’s multi-agency strategic Smart Start Programme undertook three pieces of research to hear the voices and experiences of over of 1,030 Warwickshire parents of children aged 0-5 years (including expectant parents), and 275 multi-agency staff working with expectant parents and young families.
Parents and workers told us that more needed to be done to promote and support parent-infant mental health and wellbeing in Warwickshire.
The experience of loneliness and social isolation amongst new parents was common, and was frequently reported to have had a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Continue reading Strengthening parent-infant mental health in Warwickshire →
Sharon Humberstone from NHS North East Lincolnshire CCG is a Specialist Nurse for Safeguarding Adults and Children, helping practitioners working on safeguarding issues such as gender-based violence, the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy and modern slavery. She also supports the Commissioner for Women and Children working on perinatal mental health and co-ordinates iHV Champions training. Recently she has used the Pathway Assessment Tool to identify gaps in services and improve the experience of women experiencing perinatal mental illness.
We asked Sharon how the Pathway Assessment Tool worked for her.
Why did you decide to use the Pathway Assessment Tool?
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided that we needed to undertake a mapping exercise to look at our existing services and to identify where the gaps are. On recommendation from a colleague at the NSPCC we decided to use the MABIM Pathway Assessment Tool.. We also took the opportunity to re-brand our ‘task and finish’ group as the North East Lincolnshire steering group. This gave us a chance to re-visit the membership and ensure that all partners were included. Our new steering group has representation from the CCG, maternity, health visiting, primary care, CAMHS, IAPT services, NSPCC, children’s social care, service users and adult mental health. Continue reading Just do it! Using the Pathway Assessment Tool to find gaps in services and improve women’s experiences →
Here Louis Dunn from Bluebell Care describes his experiences of perinatal mental illness and how people with lived experience can help to ‘normalise’ mental illness.
Bluebell is a growing charity based in Bristol supporting mums, dads and families who are affected by antenatal or postnatal depression and anxiety. I lead their emotional support service for new dads, which is called Dads in Mind. My role is to offer peer support via telephone and text, one to one meetings and group meet ups. I have also recently been promoting the Dads in Mind service through talking about my own journey with perinatal illness in media outlets, including print and film interviews. Continue reading Normalising paternal mental illness →
by Shereen Fisher and Wendy Jones.
Wendy Jones is a pharmacist, published author and a Registered Supporter and Trainer with the Breastfeeding Network. Wendy has combined these two roles and has developed a special interest in the safety of drugs in breastmilk. She has run the Drugs in Breastmilk service for the charity since 2007.
Shereen Fisher, Chief Executive of the Breastfeeding Network, has over 15 years leadership and management experience working in the charity sector. She is passionate and driven to improve awareness on issues affecting choice in infant feeding for all families and breastfeeding mothers.
The relationship between how a woman feeds her baby, and her perinatal mental health is a complex one.
Our emotional state and mental health in the perinatal period may affect how we decide to feed our baby. Choosing how we feed our little one may be based on many things such as how our own mum fed us, advice from professionals and what we have seen friends and family do. Our emotional wellbeing – factors such as how we feel about ourselves, our bodies and our relationships – can also influence this decision. Continue reading Supporting positive conversations about feeding choice and mental health in the perinatal period →
“Such an inspiring inaugural event full of innovative buzz,” “Learnt so much at MMHA Conference Bring on 2018!” Tweets like this summed up the response to the First Annual UK Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference on the transgenerational impact of poor maternal mental health.
Everyone who attended, plus the hundreds who followed the day’s events on Twitter, appreciated the chance to hear cutting edge research mixed with stories of lived experience. The conference had a strong following on social media, trending on Twitter during the morning and gathering 4.4 million Twitter impressions for #MMHAconf17.
Continue reading ‘Inspiring and full of innovative buzz’ the first Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference →
.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 →
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 →
by Julia Thompson. Julia is a Health Improvement Principal in the Children’s Public Health Team at Sheffield City Council. Prior to her role in Sheffield she has held a variety of positions in health and local government at local, national and regional levels, and has a particular interest in strengthening partnerships across organisations and with communities to improve wellbeing and outcomes. Julia has been Sheffield’s lead for perinatal and infant mental health lead for over two and a half years.
Sheffield has been working hard to improve support for women experiencing mental health problems during the perinatal period through better co-ordinated treatment and support.
At the heart of this has been our integrated perinatal mental health care pathway which was finalised in 2015. Developed with the involvement of health visiting, midwifery, primary care and specialist services, this is now the agreed model of support in the city and the basis on which professionals work together. The care pathway provides a strong foundation for improving identification and referral and developing services, but we know that more work is needed to improve women’s experiences of care and to achieve better outcomes. Continue reading Priority setting in local services with use of the Pathway Assessment Tool →
by Sharin Baldwin. Sharin is a trained nurse, midwife and health visitor and a keen advocate for health visiting. Her research interest is the mental health and wellbeing of fathers, an area that is fairly neglected. She is currently undertaking a PhD in this field at King’s College London and is the first health visitor to be awarded a Clinical Doctoral Fellowship by NIHR.
Fathers’ mental health and wellbeing has attracted more media attention is recent months but despite this there is very little support out there for new fathers. We know that as men become fathers they face many changes and new challenges, as women do, which can increase stress and have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.
Continue reading Putting fathers in the picture →