May was an important month for raising awareness of perinatal mental health issues: the UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week ran from 1-7 May and World Maternal Mental Health Day took place on 3 May.
It was the first year the UK ran a week of awareness-raising for maternal mental health. Led by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, organisations joined forces to share how and where mums and their families could seek help and support for perinatal mental health issues. Events, conferences and mini-campaigns took place up and down the country over the course of the week and those participating on social media used the hashtag #maternalMHmatters to join the conversation.
On Facebook, the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership ran two Facebook live sessions, with the first hosted by pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones. Dr Jones discussed safe antidepressants for mums with a maternal mental illness to take whilst nursing. The second session was about how to approach GPs for help and was hosted by GP Dr Stephanie DeGiorgio. The GP Checklist was promoted, which enables mums to detail their symptoms and pass them to their health care professional at times when they may find it difficult to verbalise what they are experiencing. Later in the week there were blog posts and tweets on self-care, practical strategies for managing symptoms and a virtual positivity pot to enable social media users to share what had helped them recover from maternal mental illness. A Twitter chat was hosted every evening by PND and Me.
During the week, on 3 May, global organisations came together to highlight World Maternal Mental Health Day for the second year running. A website hosting the campaign was created and infographics used on social media to emphasise that maternal mental health mattered. Global partners included organisations from all round the world including Australia, Chile, USA, France and Germany. Events included an art and music showcase, seminars, buggy walks, conferences, symposiums and film viewings.
The week was a huge success, with a number of MMHA members involved and the UK joining with countries around the world to highlight the important message that maternal mental health matters.