Top 10 tips for mums: Perinatal mental health

Top 10 tips for mums: Perinatal mental health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is supporting BBC Radio 5 live’s #mumtakeover – the UK’s biggest conversation about motherhood and mental health. Here, we share our top tips for looking after your mental health before and after pregnancy.

1) Be realistic

Many of us have visions of what motherhood might be like, perpetuated by images in the media and social media. Try not to put pressure on yourself by building up unrealistic ideals of the birth you’ll have; the activities you’ll do with your baby, or the mother you’ll be. Be prepared to be led by what you and your baby need, rather than a pre-existing plan.

You have produced a human being. That’s amazing. Looking after a baby is hard, so take it easy on yourself. Being ‘good enough’ is just fine!

2) Understand more about mental health and mental illness

In your preparations for becoming a mum, it can be useful to read more about the risk factors for mental illness and the signs of being unwell. This can help you to understand if and when you might need more help. It’s really valuable to share this information with your partner too, so that they can support you. There is a lot of useful information online, such as this fact sheet.

3) Plan and prepare

While you are pregnant, you can plan how you can look after your emotional wellbeing when baby arrives, and what you might do if you’re struggling. Tools like the Emotional Wellbeing plan can help with this.

If you have a history of serious mental illness, health professionals like your midwife and mental health team can plan with you how to manage your illness through pregnancy, birth and parenthood.

Activities like preparing meals to freeze and looking into local activities and groups in advance, can help to make things easier when baby arrives.

#MumTakeover videos on maternal mental health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is supporting BBC Five live’s #MumTakeover – the UK’s biggest conversation on mums and mental health. Check out some of the videos below,.

Video from former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain on trusting parental instinct: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05p6xcn

 

 

Vlogger Mama C on the importance of having a good network to avoid loneliness during and after pregnancy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05p6xzn

 

How doulas might help those expectant mothers who’ve suffered trauma: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05p6636

 

Video on mindfulness for babies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05p660h

 

MMHA joins BBC 5 live for #Mum Takeover

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance is proud to be an official supporter of the BBC 5 Live Mum Takeover, along with Netmums and Better Start Blackpool., on 28 November.

This will be the UK’s biggest conversation around mums and mental health – a two hour programme streamed live on the BBC Facebook pages as well as BBC 5 Live and across the BBC.

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Chair Dr Alain Gregoire will join BBC 5 live’s panel of experts at a discussion at Blackpool Tower (28 November, 1pm-3pm) alongside a Government representative and mum-of-one, DJ and Broadcaster Neev Spencer, who’s worked with the Heads Together Campaign.

TV presenter Rochelle Humes, Former X Factor contestant and Loose Women presenter Stacey Solomon, and popular blogger and author Giovanna Fletcher will be doing everything from fielding questions from the audience to hosting digital films.

The day will also be supported by a range of social media influencers, including Hurrah For Gin, Tired And Tested and The Motherload.

The 5 live Mum Takeover is part of BBC 5 live’s year-long State Of Mind campaign, covering a range of mental health issues.

Apply for tickets to the BBC Radio 5 live Mum Takeover here

Normalising paternal mental illness

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

MMHA – Official Supporter of BBC 5 live’s Mum Takeover on Mums and Mental Health

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Chair Dr Alain Gregoire is to join BBC 5 live’s panel of experts at the UK’s biggest conversation about mums and mental health at an event at Blackpool Tower later this month (28 November, 1pm-3pm).

The 5 live’s Mum Takeover, officially supported by Netmums, Better Start Blackpool and Maternal Mental Health Alliance, will welcome well-known mothers who have spoken publicly about their own – sometimes difficult – experiences of having babies and being mums.

They will discuss a range of challenges faced by young mothers everywhere, looking at everything from post-natal depression and anxiety, to work/life balance and tackling loneliness.

Ex-Saturdays singer and TV presenter Rochelle Humes, DJ Neev Spencer and popular blogger and author Giovanna Fletcher will also be heading to Blackpool to take part and meet mums in the audience.

Mum Takeover supporters Netmums, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and Better Start Blackpool will be represented on a panel of experts alongside a government representative. 5 live’s Anna Foster and Stacey Solomon will co-chair, and will take questions from the audience and from people getting in touch online.

The entire event will be live streamed via BBC Facebook accounts, and BBC 5 live will dip in and out of the day’s proceedings on air throughout the afternoon. The Mum Takeover will use the hashtag #mumtakeover, and 5 live hopes there will be plenty of discussion online.

Mums everywhere are invited to come along or join in online. Free tickets are available now via BBC Audiences.

Dr Alain Gregoire presents Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Mental Health Special

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor is back with a special programme on mental health on 1st November 2017 at 9pm, BBC Two.

New presenter and Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, psychiatrist Dr Alain Gregoire, reveals how to recognise a mental health problem, the key factors that psychiatrists assess – mood, thinking and behaviour – and gives advice on how to deal with problems before they become overwhelming and have a serious impact on our health.

Alain said:
“It has been great fun working with the fantastic team at the BBC on Trust me I’m a Doctor, and most of all it has been a pleasure to be part of a greater emphasis on the fascinating area of mental health in the series and in the media generally”

Continue reading Dr Alain Gregoire presents Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Mental Health Special

Supporting positive conversations about feeding choice and mental health in the perinatal period

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

World Mental Health Day 2017: mental health in the workplace

Today is World Mental Health day; an opportunity ‘for all stakeholders working in mental health to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.’

This year’s World Mental Health Day focusses on mental health in the workplace, a crucial part of the conversation around perinatal mental health. The Maternal Mental Health Alliance recognises the importance of a supportive workplace environment in promoting good maternal mental health. Initiatives such as shared parental leave and flexible working can support this.

If you’d like to get involved in supporting World Mental Health Day, sign the pledge on behalf of your team to commit to being proactive in your support of mental health in the workplace. You can also raise awareness on social media by using the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay or #WMHD17.

You can find out more about World Mental Health Day by clicking here.

‘Inspiring and full of innovative buzz’ the first Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference

“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

Winners of the first perinatal mental health awards 2017 announced

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM) have announced the winners of the first perinatal mental health awards.

The awards, which were announced on 13th September at the first Annual UK Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference at Imperial College, London, recognise best practice and achievement in the categories of perinatal mental health education and training, perinatal mental health awareness raising, peer support and transgenerational service.

The winners were presented with their awards by acclaimed author, journalist and psychotherapist Susie Orbach.

Dr Camilla Rosan, Programme Lead for Families, Children and Young People at the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“We had nearly 100 nominations from the public, private and charity sectors. We were looking for projects and services with a creative and innovative approach to perinatal mental health and we found some real heroes.

“Early intervention for maternal mental health can have a dramatic impact on outcomes for mothers, fathers, children and the wider community.

“Our winners and runners up are making a real difference to the mental health of women and their families, helping to break the cycle of intergenerational mental ill health.”

Dr Alain Gregoire, founder and Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said:

“This is a remarkable group of cutting-edge scientists gathered at Imperial College to discuss mental health across the generations and the earliest possible interventions to prevent mental health problems.”

Continue reading Winners of the first perinatal mental health awards 2017 announced