Guest blog by Holly Latham, Lived Experience Coordinator
Growing research has shown that arts, crafts, creative writing, music, and dance can be incredibly beneficial in supporting mental health.
In celebration of Friday’s theme for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, it’s time to focus on hope, recovery, and self-care.
As someone who personally experienced postnatal depression after the birth of my daughter, I’ve been prompted to reflect on what helped me through those dark days. While there was a myriad of things that helped, such as family support, talking therapy, medication, and time, it was engaging in creative practices, particularly stitching, that made a profound impact on my recovery and continued wellbeing. Continue reading Perinatal Positivity Pot: Using creative practice for maternal mental health and wellbeing →
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- Around 1 in 5 women experience mental health problems during or after pregnancy and suicide remains the leading cause of direct maternal death in the first postnatal year. It is therefore critical that those with the most severe and complex illnesses can access specialist care close to home.
- In the last decade, the overall provision and quality of specialist perinatal mental health services have improved but progress across the UK has been uneven.
- According to Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) research, this is largely due to workforce planning and shortage issues, made worse by insecure or late allocation of funds.
- At a time when demands on mental health services are so high, it is vital that commitment to maternal mental health remains, and the improvements in care, which we now know can be made, must be sustained.
Continue reading Mums in the UK missing out on specialist mental health support due to insecure funding →
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) is delighted to announce a partnership with Tommee Tippee. Over the next two years, we will work together to shine a light on perinatal mental health and reach more families with education, tools, spaces, and support during this significant period in their lives.
This partnership is a first for the MMHA, and we are looking forward to collaborating with a global brand that is part of so many families’ everyday lives. Continue reading Tommee Tippee and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance are working together for brighter futures →
Blog by Laura Seebohm, CEO of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA)
“Health equity is determined by the conditions in which people live, grow, play, age. There’s a powerful social gradient associated with perinatal mental health which cannot be attributed to hormonal, biological differences. This is about health inequalities which reflect social circumstances and gender norms. The impact of structural factors is often neglected.”
– Jane Fisher, Marce Society Conference September 2022
Equity is absolutely the right theme for International Women’s Day 2023. We are facing unprecedented poverty, growing health inequalities and increasing rates of gendered violence and abuse, and it is women who are disproportionately affected.
What does this mean for new and expectant mothers? How are they experiencing this extraordinary time of life within the political, social and economic landscape of 2023? International Women’s Day gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the realities for women during the perinatal period.
In autumn 2022, the MMHA commissioned a poll of 500 new mothers from across the UK. The findings were illuminating: Continue reading International Women’s Day: embracing equity in perinatal mental health care →
- Mental illness is the most common serious health problem that women experience during pregnancy and after birth, impacting around 1 in 5.
- Without treatment, perinatal mental health (PMH) problems can have a devastating impact on individuals, families, and wider society.
- In partnership with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has produced a resource based on a review of 12 years of policy and research about what good PMH care looks like.
- The resource aims to support services, individuals, multiagency groups and networks across health, public health, social care, and non-statutory services.
Today, the iHV and the MMHA are proud to share ‘Supporting High-Quality Perinatal Mental Health Care’, a new resource to enable and inform high-quality, compassionate care for families impacted by PMH problems. This collaboration began from a shared desire to encourage and embed good PMH practices within services supporting women and birthing people, babies, and their families. Continue reading iHV and MMHA work together to inform high-quality perinatal mental health care →
The 25th edition of MMHA’s Everyone’s Business Campaign eBulletin is out now!
The Winter 2022/23 eBulletin has all the latest news from the campaign and UK perinatal mental health (PMH) sector, including:
- Key research findings from iHV’s annual survey and the latest MBRRACE report
- Campaign updates from the devolved nations
- Spotlight on domestic abuse and PMH
- New resources from MMHA members.
Please share widely on social media, tagging @MMHAlliance and #EveryonesBusiness.
See previous editions and Welsh language versions here.
Blog by Laura Seebohm, CEO of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA)
I am proud to share MMHA’s new strategy for 2023-26. Getting to this point has been the most absorbing, intense and inspiring journey, and the focus of my first year with the Alliance.
The next three years are expected to bring fresh challenges for the perinatal mental health and wider health and social care community. As ever, we are sensitive to the landscape and pressures on the workforce whilst being ambitious about what mums, babies and families need. Continue reading Behind the scenes: Developing MMHA’s new strategy (2023-26) →
Blog by Sian Drinkwater, Community Engagement Lead
In partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, working on the Amplifying Maternal Voices (AMV) project has been a hugely insightful experience. Two of the key outputs from the project include hosting a national perinatal mental health conference and developing an engagement toolkit to inspire action and change at a local level.
At the halfway point, we wanted to reflect on the story so far of the development of the AMV engagement toolkit, which the MMHA is leading. Continue reading Story so far: The Amplifying Maternal Voices Engagement Toolkit →
When is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023?
Monday 1 – Sunday 7 May 2023
What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a week-long campaign dedicated to talking about mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy.
The week is all about:
- raising public and professional awareness of perinatal mental health problems
- advocating for women and families impacted by it
- changing attitudes
- helping people access the information, care and support they need to recover.
Who is it organised by?
The week is organised and led by MMHA member the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK), who launched the first-ever UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week nearly a decade ago in 2014.
PMHP UK is a small group of individuals, including parents with lived experience and clinicians, who came together to raise awareness of maternal mental health.
What is this year’s theme?
The overall theme of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is ‘Together in a changing world’. The daily themes are as follows:
Monday – Starting the conversation about perinatal mental health
Tuesday – Shining the spotlight on support
Wednesday – World Maternal Mental Health Day #StrongerTogether
Thursday – Healthcare professionals hub to support healing
Friday – Perinatal positivity pot
Saturday – Support for all families
Sunday – Recap and reflect
- Join the conversation by using #MMHAW23, #TogetherInAChangingWorld and #maternalMHmatters.
- For ideas and resources, visit PMHP UK’s website.
The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Margaret Rose Oates OBE, MB, ChB, FRCPsych, FRCOG; a visionary perinatal psychiatrist, pioneer and leader who changed the lives of countless women and their families.
Friend and colleague, Dr Roch Cantwell, kindly agreed to share a few words on the unique life and legacy of Dr Oates:
Continue reading Remembering and celebrating Dr Margaret Rose Oates OBE, MB, ChB, FRCPsych, FRCOG →