Mental Health Awareness Week: Stress in Pregnancy – Society’s Problem

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is focussing on stress and its detrimental consequences on mental health.

At the Maternal Mental Health Alliance we recognise how stress can negatively affect parents’ wellbeing and increase the risk of mental illness. When parents are feeling stressed, it also makes it harder for them to consider, reflect on and respond to their babies’ needs. And a huge body of research tells us that sensitive and responsive care is an essential ingredient in babies’ healthy brain development.

The research carries positive messages too. The results of stress are not inevitable and there are things we can all do to manage stress and reduced its impact. Furthermore, evidence shows that a good quality relationship between parents and babies after birth can mitigate the impact of early stress on babies’ development, which  is why services that support healthy parent-infant relationships are so critically important. Read our blog on stress in pregnancy here.

 

 

 

 

 

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’ www.maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/campaign/maps

Email: info@everyonesbusiness.org.uk

 

 

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

Women in a quarter of the UK still can’t access vital maternal mental health services

PRESS RELEASE – Thursday 19th April 2018

New maps launched today by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Everyone’s Business Campaign show that pregnant women and new mums in a quarter of the UK still cannot access lifesaving specialist perinatal mental health services, which meet national guidelines.[1]

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance welcomes the encouraging signs of progress seen in some parts of the UK but raises the alarm: there is not progress for all parts of the country at the same rate, meaning right now, women and families still face a postcode lottery.

Continue reading Women in a quarter of the UK still can’t access vital maternal mental health services

Latest campaign e-bulletin published

The Everyone’s Business campaign e-bulletin is now out, including news on why Scotland is calling to turn the map green, an update on new RAG-rated campaign maps coming soon plus a perspective from lived experience on why specialist services are important.  See link below:

Everyone’s Business Spring 2018 e-bulletin pdf

Please circulate far and wide and if you are on twitter please tweet the e-bulletin link using the #everyonesbusiness.

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

On International Women’s Day let’s work for equality between mental and physical health

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women from the past, and shine a light on the work being done by women for the pursuit of gender equality. International Women’s Day also creates an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that many women continue to face across the globe.

Faced with social expectations of motherhood, as well as cultural, religious and economic factors – many new and expectant mums dealing with mental health problems often suffer in silence.

In the UK, more than 1 in 10 women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, and around half of them have little to no access to specialist perinatal mental health services, making it difficult for them to get the help and support that they need.

Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead for Mums and Babies in Mind said:

“Perinatal mental health has been ignored and undervalued for too long. Not only is it a woman’s health issue, but it is also a mental health issue and we are still a long way from achieving parity of esteem between mental and physical health. We will continue to work to ensure that this important area of healthcare gets the attention it deserves – harnessing the powerful voices of women themselves to help make the case for change.”

From health care professionals, employers, to family and friends, we all have a role to play in supporting women who are dealing with perinatal mental health problems. Start by signing up to our Mums and Babies in Mind blog, check out our Everyone’s Business campaign maps to see just how patchy the current provision of services is and visit the new Global Alliance site, launched today.

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)

Continue reading Second Maternal Mental Health Matters Week

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.”

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