Words by MMHA trustee, Dr Clare dolman, on behalf of the Alliance
We’re sure that the MMHA family will want to pay tribute to Dr Roch Cantwell, who has now retired as Senior Consultant Psychiatrist in Glasgow and Clyde. Though stepping down from his role as a clinician based at Leverndale Hospital, he will continue as the Lead Clinician for the Perinatal Mental Health Network Scotland – a National Managed Clinical Network.
Roch has done so much for the field of perinatal mental health, in Scotland and globally, including:
leading the establishment of Scotland’s first mother and baby unit and specialist community perinatal mental health team
acting as lead psychiatry assessor for the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and lead author for their mental health-themed reports
chairing the SIGN guideline development group for SIGN 127: Perinatal Mood Disorders
being a founder member of Maternal Mental Health Scotland, a charity established to campaign for improved mental health services for women, their infants and families.
He has also published widely in the field of perinatal mental health and is a prominent figure at international conferences.
MMHA trustee Professor Ian Jones commented:
“Roch is one of the giants of perinatal mental health on whose shoulders we all stand. When Roch speaks people listen. They know they will hear wisdom grounded in an empathy and concern for women and their families. His achievements are huge and wide-ranging but underpinning them all is his desire to make things better for women and their babies.
“Although retiring clinically I’m sure he will continue to have a massive impact on our field for years to come.”
Dr Liz Macdonald, former Chair of the Perinatal Faculty and current perinatal mental health training lead for the Royal College of Physicians, added:
“Roch has been at the forefront of British perinatal mental health for many years and a force for change within clinical practice, service development and research. His extraordinary intelligence, wit, compassion, and humanity have made him a wonderful leader, campaigner, speaker, educator and clinician. Shining through all this is Roch’s capacity to be a great friend to many, and to be so with with immense commitment, humour and generosity. His clinical skills have been passed on to many from a range of disciplines within the perinatal mental health field and he will continue to contribute to the development of services, underpinned by ensuring that a sustainable, strong infrastructure for the development of practitioners is in place.
“On a personal note, knowing Roch has made my enjoyment of working within perinatal mental health all the greater. He totally gets that sharing laughter is the best tonic!”
An enormous thank you to Roch from everyone here at the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. We wish him the happiest retirement.
The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) £1.2 million towards a major new phase of its Everyone’s Business campaign, over the next four years.
To date, the MMHA has successfully focussed on improving access to specialist community perinatal mental health services in the UK, with longstanding support from Comic Relief.
Now, thanks to National Lottery players, the MMHA will be able to both continue this work and expand the campaign to other areas of care that dramatically affect the lives of women with poor perinatal mental health.
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is working with member Centre for Mental Health to explore the impact of COVID-19 on maternal mental health.
Funded by Comic Relief, we will be conducting a rapid evidence review of the impact of COVID-19 on maternal mental health and services, including the voluntary and community sector, across all four UK nations.
Former MP Luciana Berger has been appointed as the new Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and will take up her role at the start of next month.
Founded in 2011, MMHA is a coalition of 97 organisations, clinicians, and people with lived experience working together to improve mental health support during pregnancy and postnatally. MMHA has successfully campaigned to address gaps in UK specialist perinatal mental health care. However, despite significant progress, more work is needed to tackle the postcode lottery for mothers, partners, and babies.
After a delay due to COVID-19, NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) have now launched an expression of interest process to develop and test Maternal Mental Health Services (formerly referred to as ‘Maternity Outreach Clinics’ in NHSE’s Long Term Plan) in 2020/21 and 2021/22.
This supports the delivery of the ambition in the Long Term Plan to establish Maternal Mental Health Services, which will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to the maternity experience.
Sustainability and transformation partnership (STPs), Integrated Care Systems (ICS), and Local Maternity Systems (LMS) areas have all received information inviting them to express interest in piloting these services.
The plan is for pilot sites to mobilise from October 2020 onwards and it is expected that all areas of England will have access to these services by 2023/24.
The MMHA welcomes this positive step towards achieving ambitions for perinatal mental health laid out in the Long Term Plan. We will be following the pilot developments and learnings closely, which should translate into perinatal mental health support for more women and families in need.
The MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign has released new maps showing the provision of specialist perinatal mental health (PMH) community services in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (as ofwinter 2019/20). Despite welcoming major progress in commitments and funding promised by devolved nation governments, the maps continue to show the extent of the postcode lottery faced by women and families.