Marce 2018 – Global Experiences, Global Dialogues, Global Responses

Sally Hogg attended the Marce Society 2018 Biennial, to share learning and gain insights into global best practice in maternal mental health.

It was an absolute privilege to attend the International Marce Society Biennial meeting in Bangalore last week. The meeting brought together over 500 delegates from 31 countries to discuss the latest science and practice in protecting and promoting maternal mental health. I was there to share learning from the MMHA Mums and Babies in Mind Project, alongside trying to capture useful insights for those at home.

This was the first time that a Marce conference had been held in the Global South. The conference really opened my eyes to the challenges facing Low and Middle Income countries where the vast majority of the world’s babies are born, the prevalence of perinatal mental health problems is particularly high, and there are fewer resources to support families. The conference chair, Jane Fisher, powerfully reminded us that enabling mothers to be healthy is key to enabling children, and therefore societies and economies, to reach their full potential and thrive.

The conference was held in the National Institute for Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, which is a large mental health hospital and academic centre. NIMHANs has a 5 bedded Mother and Baby Unit, which is the only unit in a country where 26 million are babies born each year. The facilities were, in many ways, basic compared to the UK. But there was much that we could learn from them: The MBU had beds for a family member to stay with women (albeit only for female relatives – not dads or male partners). There was a strong multidisciplinary team including lactation support, which was particularly interesting to me, as we have recently done some work about the need to improve breastfeeding support and advice for mums with severe mental illness. NIMHANs hospital – including the MBU – incorporates yoga into the care they provide to patients. I was sorry that due to the full conference programme, I didn’t get a chance to learn more about the use of yoga.

It was a very full conference, with three long days of high quality presentations and discussions. As is often the case at events with many parallel sessions, it was hard to choose what to attend. I focussed on presentations which had clear implications for policy and practice, which meant I missed a lot of interesting stuff about the biological determinants and mechanisms of mental health problems.

So what were my highlights and take home messages from the presentations and symposiums I did attend?

I was challenged by a symposium chaired by Susan Ayers that really brought to life the complexities and limitations of screening.

I was excited by Jane Fisher’s launch of the new WHO nurturing framework which I think provides a useful way to talk about early child development with policy makers.

It was heartening to see that the UK is one of the countries that is leading the way in the provision of specialist community and inpatient services. Our campaigning is inspiring others too – we heard about maternal mental health alliances developing in Canada and Africa and of people considering how to replicate our powerful maps of provision, and there was regular use of the #everyonesbusiness message.

I was encouraged to hear about how services were being designed with implementation and scaleability in mind: Maria Muzik discussed the co-production of the MomPower intervention, and Heather Rowe described research with parents, providers and policy makers to inform the development of support for new parents.

Birth trauma was a recurring theme in the conference. As Evita Fernadez described in a plenary, “the way in which we give birth has major implications for women’s future health and that of their babies” and yet there is a “crisis in childbirth” with many women experiencing traumatic births in India and around the world. Evita spoke encouragingly of the tide starting to turn thanks to powerful campaigns to harness womens’ voices and to global recognition of women’s rights to respect, support and choice in their birth, by organisations such as the World Health Organisation. In another plenary, Jon Cox prize winner Bryanne Barnett called on professionals to gain an in-depth understanding of the current and past experiences of women, including recognising and respond to both the physical and mental harms that result from traumatic birth. In a great symposium on birth trauma, Susan Ayers discussed evidence that positive support during birth can buffer against stressful events, whereas a lack of support or interpersonal difficulties increase risk of PTSD. Pauline Slade presented the Straw-b self-help tool which contains information and psychological exercises for women at risk of PTSD. And, in perhaps the most surprising study of the conference, Antje Horsch, showed that women who play tetris for 15 minutes in the 6 hours following an emergency c section are less likely to develop PTSD (which is thought to be because visuo-spatial tasks can change the way in which therefore reduce the likelihood of intrusive memories.)

Whilst the conference showcased a wealth of fantastic practice, we were constantly reminded that the majority of women in the world who are experiencing perinatal mental health problems are not getting support. It wasn’t all doom and gloom however. There were a number of examples of innovations which could enable more women to access evidence based support: Atif Rahman shared the evidence of the impact of the Thinking Healthy (CBT based) intervention which has had a proven impact on women’s mental health in LMIC countries when delivered by community health workers or peer supporters.

Cerith Waters shared how his stretched service in Wales had developed a Perinatal Play and Development group, which enabled the service to have more contact with women. The 6 week group includes mindfulness, psychoeducation and elements of watch, wait and wonder.

Finally, a number of speakers from Australia, including Jeannette Milgrom and Jane Fisher showcased digital interventions which could drastically improve the reach of services. We were reminded that 63% of the population in low and middle income countries have a smart phone (something that was clearly on show when out and about in Bangalore!).Siobhan Loughnan shared positive results from use of a short, three session perinatal iCBT intervention called MUMentum, which can be used as self-help or as an adjunct to face-to-face support. Jeannette and Jane spoke about  the Mumspace website, which hosts a range of universal, targeted and specialist interventions (including the Baby Steps, Mind Mum MumMood Booster apps) and the What Were We Thinking intervention, which helps parents to learn about caring for their baby (including crying, soothing and sleep) and about their journey as parents  (including their relationship) through a group based seminar for parents, website, app and moderated peer-to-peer blog, all supported by a training programme for maternal and child health nurses (equivalents of our health visitors)  .

There were some things missing from the conference. The audience was largely health professionals or academics. I felt that the input of community or charitable organisations was missing, and I didn’t see much on place-based and whole system approaches.

But overall it was a fantastic three days. I left feeling that although there is a huge amount to do, but there is lots of valuable work to learn from, and in the UK we are privileged to have opportunities to put this learning into practice.

Marce 2018 – Global Experiences, Global Dialogues, Global Responses

Sally Hogg attended the Marce Society 2018 Biennial, to share learning and gain insights into global best practice in maternal mental health.

It was an absolute privilege to attend the International Marce Society Biennial meeting in Bangalore. The meeting brought together over 500 delegates from 31 countries to discuss the latest science and practice in protecting and promoting maternal mental health. I was there to share learning from the MMHA Mums and Babies in Mind Project, alongside trying to capture useful insights for those at home.

This was the first time that a Marce conference had been held in the Global South. The conference really opened my eyes to the challenges facing Low and Middle Income countries where the vast majority of the world’s babies are born, the prevalence of perinatal mental health problems is particularly high, and there are fewer resources to support families. The conference chair, Jane Fisher, powerfully reminded us that enabling mothers to be healthy is key to enabling children, and therefore societies and economies, to reach their full potential and thrive. Continue reading Marce 2018 – Global Experiences, Global Dialogues, Global Responses

Professional bodies welcome report highlighting need for more maternal mental health experts

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are delighted the NHS Benchmarking report on Universal Perinatal Mental Health Findings was published on Friday 14 September.

Prior to this study, information on service provision and staffing of universal perinatal mental health (PMH) services was not available at a national level.

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are delighted the NHS Benchmarking report on Universal Perinatal Mental Health Findings was published on Friday 14 September.

The data collected from providers suggested that:

Capacity in universal services is very limited and does not provide the necessary broad base from which the Specialist PMH services can operate effectively and efficiently.

The provision of specialist perinatal mental health care within universal services is highly variable across England, with some areas having no, or limited, provision (obstetric & midwifery providers 61%; health visiting providers 30%).

The large gap in health visiting PMH capacity was particularly evident, with 70% of providers having no specialist provision within the service.

This report is critical because it focuses on the universal element, where the vast majority of women need to receive their care. Universal services are a crucial element of the PMH care pathway at every local level and have the potential to create great savings in relation to both human and economic costs in the short and long term.

Alain Gregoire, Chair of the MMHA, said:

“There has been excellent progress in funding specialist perinatal service provision across England, but we know that specialist services alone are not enough.  All women in pregnancy and postnatally should have equitable access to the support, prevention and treatment they need for their mental health as much as for their physical health. This report shows that investment is essential to ensure that there are sufficient, well-trained staff across universal services so that women get the care they should expect from the NHS, and our children can get the best start in life.”

Read the full statement from the MMHA, iHV, RCOG and RCM here.

Maternal Mental Health Alliance Responds to the Long Term Plan for the NHS

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance has recently responded to the NHS Long Term Plan, the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s 1001 Days Inquiry plus a specific response on how NHS services could better support fathers.

Alongside reinforcing our Everyone’s Business Campaign messages about the need for sustainable, high quality specialist services in all areas of the country, we also emphasise the importance of a range of effective services and joined-up pathways of care in each local area so that ALL women can get the right support at the right time, whatever their level of need.

The MMHA is also clear that services must engage with fathers, and that there must be support available for families where there are difficulties in the parent-infant relationship.

Our policy positions have been co-developed through ongoing discussion with our member organisations and women with lived experience. These policy submissions can be found in the Resource Hub.

 

 

 

Scottish Government announce new funding for perinatal mental health services

The Scottish Government has published its programme for government, which includes a package of measures to do more to support positive mental health and prevent ill health. This includes a focus on perinatal mental health, which Maternal Mental Health Scotland and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance believe is a positive step for the improvement of services in Scotland.

We look forward to hearing more about the detail of this announcement, and what it means for specialist perinatal mental health services in Scotland, as well as those provided by the Third Sector. Perinatal mental health is #everyonesbusiness.

The full Programme for Government can be downloaded here. Perinatal mental health is mentioned on page 64:

Conference 2018: eye opening content and powerful personal stories

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference 2018 was an inspirational event, filled with eye opening content and powerful personal stories from lived experience.

Delegates said the day offered fresh perspectives, new insights and lots of opportunities for expanding networks across the perinatal sector.

One delegate mentioned that she encountered ideas that she hadn’t considered before and took away lots of learning to help reach the ‘missing’ families in her area.

Lived experience was a key theme of the conference this year and our speakers’ personal stories created a real buzz in the hall and on social media.

“Powerful personal story from in breakout A. Moved us to tears #MMHAconf2018

“Wow! 58% of live births in London are to women born outside the UK #MMHAconf2018

“Humbling to hear from members of the learning disability parent network about being pregnant and having a baby when you have a learning disability.”

Self-confessed ‘Glam Geek and Proud Sikh’, and mental health campaigner DJ Neev Spencer was a firm favourite with the audience. She shared her own experience of PND before presenting the annual perinatal mental health awards .

Dr Laura Wood’s comments echoed many:

“Home from #MMHAConf2018 I’m inspired & encouraged. And I’m so thankful for our incredible community & for my place in it. You really have changed my life x”

Huge thanks to Katrina Jenkins for organising and co-presenting the awards with DJ Neev Spencer, and to Dr Alain Gregoire for keeping the day on track.

 

Missed any of the presentations? Check out full list here.

 

DJ Neev Spencer announces Perinatal Mental Health Awards 2018 at the Maternal Mental Health Conference   

DJ, broadcaster and campaigner Neev Spencer presented the 2nd annual perinatal mental health awards at this year’s Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) conference Diversity: Understanding and Reaching the Missing Families.

The Perinatal Mental Health Awards were announced at the MMHA conference on 6th September 2018 at Imperial College, London.

The awards are for services and individuals who show excellence in the categories of inclusivity; anti stigma; peer support; training and family focus.

Neev Spencer said:

“As a passionate campaigner for mental health, and with my own experience of postnatal depression, I am so excited to recognise outstanding practice in perinatal mental health.

“My own experience of postnatal depression has motivated me to raise awareness of maternal mental health and the reality that many mothers face in coping with perinatal mental health difficulties.

“Until I experienced postnatal depression, I never thought it was something that could affect me. Many mothers don’t talk about how they’re feeling and get the support they need early on. That’s a real shame because once we talk about it, it frees us to move on from the experience and to get the support that we need.  I am passionate about raising awareness of mental health and especially pleased to present these awards.”

The award winners are:

  1. Anti-stigma Award for Perinatal Mental Health Awareness-Raising

Winner: Have you seen that girl?

Highly commended: The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership

 

  1. Perinatal Peer Support Award.

Winner: Mothers for Mothers

Highly commended: Action on Postpartum Psychosis

 

  1. Perinatal Mental Health Education and Training Award

Winner: Mellow Parenting

Highly commended: Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

 

  1. Family-focused Award for engaging and involving the whole family in perinatal work, supporting family members’ mental health alongside the parent-infant relationship during the perinatal period.

Winner: Building Attachment and Bonds Service

Highly commended: Amanda Tamlyn, perinatal and infant mental health specialist, Sussex Community Foundation Trust

 

  1. Big Lottery Diversity and Inclusivity Award, for showing innovation in meeting the needs of a diverse range of families experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties.

Winner: MumsAid

Highly commended: Leeds Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service

 

 

 

 

MMHA: new charitable status and new funding

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) has registered as an independent charity.  We have appointed a Board of Trustees and will launch our new trustee pages on the website soon. MMHA worked with alliance members to set up the new structure and register as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

The MMHA is thankful to our host organisations, Action on Postpartum Psychosis and the Mental Health Foundation, for all their help over the last few years in providing the support and infrastructure needed to enable the Alliance to campaign and improve perinatal mental health services for women and families.

We are very happy to announce that Comic Relief has agreed a further grant for the Everyone’s Business campaign and associated MMHA costs, starting in October 2018. This will enable MMHA to continue working towards a vision to see all women across the UK get consistent, accessible and quality care and support for their mental health during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth.

 

DJ and broadcaster Neev Spencer to present perinatal mental health awards 2018

We are delighted to announce that DJ and broadcaster Neev Spencer, the biggest British Asian female broadcaster in the UK and a passionate campaigner for mental health, will present the annual perinatal mental health awards at this year’s Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) conference Diversity: Understanding and Reaching the Missing Families.

The Perinatal Mental Health Awards will be announced at the MMHA conference on 6th September 2018 at Imperial College, London. The awards are for services and individuals who show excellence in the categories of inclusivity; anti stigma; peer support; training and family focus.

In addition to talking about her own struggle with postnatal depression following the birth of her daughter, Neev has spoken with the Duchess of Cambridge on maternal mental health and made a film on postnatal depression with the Heads Together campaign. Last year she joined MMHA’s chair Dr Alain Gregoire as an expert panellist on the BBC 5 Live ‘Mum Takeover’ and worked on ‘The Mental Health Minute’ when 300 radio stations in the UK joined together on Mental Health Awareness Week.

Book your ticket for the conference here.

Follow us on @MMHAlliance using #MMHAconf2018 #MABIM. Follow Neev @neevofficial.

The annual MMHA conference is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

Come and share your ideas – show them on a poster at the MMHA conference

Come and be part of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance conferenceDiversity – understanding and reaching the missing families.” on 6th September, Imperial College London.

For the first time, this year we are inviting poster presentations from families who have lived experience of perinatal mental health difficulties, as well as academics, clinicians and service providers. We are particularly keen to see stories from families who have diverse experiences and backgrounds.

Posters need to be A2-sized and can use any medium to reflect your experiences: words, photography, images – whatever you need to get your experiences across.

Submit your poster by 20 August hereClick here for an easy guide to creating your poster presentation

In the growing field of perinatal mental health, there is a huge range of fantastic work happening around the country. Our poster presentations provide an opportunity to showcase your work and inspire others.

This year’s conference theme is “Diversity – understanding and reaching the missing families.” Topics covered include culture and migration, women with learning disabilities, women in the criminal justice system, military families, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and more…

Winners of the 2018 Perinatal Mental Health Awards will also be announced at the Conference,  

Tickets available here.  Submit your poster idea here