RCM launches new report ‘Every mother must get the help they need’

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has published a new report entitled; Every mother must get the help they need*.

The report is inspired by Lucie Holland’s 2015 Change.org petition. Lucie Holland’s sister died in tragic circumstances as a result of a devastating mental illness.  Lucie subsequently set up a Change.org petition in 2015 about the urgent need for better awareness and care for those affected by perinatal mental illness. This petition went viral with thousands of signatures, and many people left heartfelt comments about their own experiences.

The RCM and its partners have analysed and collated all the comments to form the report which will be launched and discussed at a Perinatal Mental Health roundtable event hosted by the RCM in London later today. The roundtable discussion will be  chaired by Professor Lesley Regan from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Commenting, Janet Fyle Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM says; “The comments left on Lucie’s change.org petition speak of the devastation suffered by some women and their families and more crucial is the fact that mental ill health continues to carry a stigma for most sufferers.

“The comments from the petition contained in the report will be the focal point of the discussion. For the RCM and our partners this is an opportunity to hear the voices of thousands of women and their families and generate new ideas going forward.

“If we are to improve the experiences of women seeking help and support for mental health problems in the perinatal period it is crucial that we collectively take on board these comments.

“The RCM has said time and time again that there is an urgent need for the Government to invest more into funding services for women suffering with pregnancy related mental health problems. Every Trust with maternity services should have a specialist midwife in post to enable women who are unwell to get the very best care and support they need.

“The comments should also be the driving force behind how we organise and provide perinatal mental health services for all women across the UK irrespective of where they live.”

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) said; “Emma’s tragic death as a result of a severe perinatal mental illness offers us all an urgent wake-up call.

“We must act now to prevent more women from suffering or dying unnecessarily.

“Recovery through good support and care should be the norm if women and families everywhere have access to high quality specialist services, but it is still a postcode lottery. This has to change.”

Lucie Holland who tragically lost her sister and started the change.org petition says; “As I read the comments left on my petition, the voice of the nation resonated –  “Fortunate”, “Thankful”, “Lucky” appeared time and time again in the thousands of emotional and heartfelt comments left by supporters of my petition.

“Emma was not “Fortunate, or Lucky”, and we live every day missing her. We will continue to raise awareness and fight for change. The provision of perinatal mental health services is under looked yet significantly important in preventing the loss of any more mothers in the UK.

“Thank you for every one of the 6898 comments left; with these we will build positive change out of a tragedy that will haunt my family forever.”

The report will be available from the RCM’s website.

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.