Marking the end of the Amplifying Maternal Voices project

Posted By: Sian Drinkwater

2nd May 2024

  • AMV
  • Project
  • EDI
  • Member
  • Collaboration

3 minute read

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since we started work on the Amplifying Maternal Voices (AMV) project, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation. Now that the project is coming to an end, it felt like an important time to reflect on the incredible experience of co-developing the AMV toolkit with so many passionate perinatal mental health professionals and experts by experience.

Project highlights have included:

  • Hearing and learning from the incredible speakers at both the AMV conference in March 2023 and the AMV learning event in March 2024 to enable the perinatal mental health community to better understand individual needs and opportunities to support women and families.
  • Launching the AMV toolkit with MMHA Lived Experience Champions, members and grassroots supporters and demonstrating how this resource can be used within local communities.
  • Working together with so many fantastic individuals and organisations across the perinatal mental health sector in Birmingham, Croydon and online in workshops and meetings to develop and sense check toolkit content.

Where we started

We started the AMV project knowing that, whilst there has been significant progress within perinatal mental health care, urgent action is required to address shocking inequities, systemic racism, and funding gaps.

With this in mind, we wanted to create a toolkit with and for individuals and groups across the UK who want to influence decision makers and create positive change in perinatal mental health care in their local area. We hoped it would:

1. Inspire action to influence change in perinatal mental health care at a local level.

2. Be a platform to amplify seldom-heard voices.

Developing the AMV toolkit

I feel extremely fortunate to have spoken with so many wonderful people, with input at every stage from MMHA Lived Experience Champions, MMHA member organisations and local contacts. Building trust and meaningful relationships has been crucial to developing the AMV toolkit and I have always tried to approach this work with honesty and authenticity.

The innovative examples and ideas we heard were pulled together into a draft version of the toolkit. Once this was ready, we undertook a collective process of testing and sense-checking through workshops and further conversations.

As the resource took shape, feedback about accessible language and learning styles led us to improve certain features such as:

  • examples to read, watch and listen
  • practical tips and templates
  • adding a simplified workbook which can be downloaded and used offline.

I truly hope we have done justice to everyone’s brilliant suggestions in the final AMV toolkit which launched on 20 March 2024.

This resource is going to be extraordinary for us. We’ve been seen, our voices are not being erased, and that’s what we’re mirroring and replicating in our communities.

Amanda Smith, Maternity Engagement Action

Key learning and reflections

From my experience of working on this project, I wanted to share a few reflections about what I have learned:

  • The importance of bringing people together; from grassroots groups to health professionals, sharing expertise can be a powerful way of bridging the gap. We saw this in action in the workshops held to develop the AMV toolkit with diverse groups being part of the conversation.
  • Action is urgently needed; there has been a lot of positive talk and research, but people need to see real change, especially when it comes to addressing inequities in perinatal mental health care.
  • Inspiring work to break barriers in perinatal mental health care is already happening, but funding and resources are desperately needed. This must be a top priority for decision makers.
  • Partnerships and meaningful collaboration are a key part of the solution, but building these relationships takes time and capacity Everyone needs to be valued and respected as equal partners.
“Excited to see the launch of the valuable resource by the wonderful Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and Mental Health Foundation (MHF). I'm proud to have been involved with MHF in the initial development of this important work. Colleagues did a fab job of bringing this fruition! I look forward to using the Toolkit in developing grassroots and sustainable networks of support, within and beyond perinatal care.” 

Katrina Jenkins, Kinship

What’s next?

Now that the AMV project is reaching its conclusion, we are looking at ways the MMHA can incorporate learning into our wider work to ensure addressing inequities and providing a platform for seldom-heard voices remain a key part of what we do. We will continue to share the AMV toolkit through our extensive networks and update content as new ideas come to light.

We really hope individuals and organisations will find the AMV toolkit practical and useful in their efforts to create positive change in perinatal mental health care in their local area. Please explore and share with others!

Thank you

There wouldn’t be an AMV toolkit without the support and passion of the Mental Health Foundation, MMHA Lived Experience Champions, MMHA members, local contacts and allies from across the perinatal mental health sector. On behalf of the MMHA, I’d like to say a huge thank you for everyone’s invaluable insights and input.

Together, we will make change happen.

If you have any feedback or questions about the AMV toolkit, please contact

More about the project

The AMV Toolkit

The Toolkit offers creative ideas and practical tools to empower individuals in shaping perinatal mental health care at the local level and explores innovative examples of ongoing efforts to bring about this much-needed change.


Reflections at the halfway point

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.

Read more

About the AMV conference

In early March 2023, our Amplifying Maternal Voices project held the first National Perinatal Mental Health Conference led by the Foundation since 2018, with the theme of ‘Breaking Barriers’.

Read more

AMV project announcement

The AMV project aims to improve mothers’ and families’ access to support for their mental health, and is a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation and the MMHA.

Read more