UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 3-9th May 2021. Led by – Perinatal Mental Health Partnersh

What is it? A weeklong campaign dedicated to talking about mental illness while pregnant or after having a baby. We are dedicated to signposting to support for all mumsand families and focus on advocating for those affected by Maternal Mental Health, to access the information and help they require to enable recovery.

Who is it organised by? In 2014, we, a small group of 11 individuals including women with lived experience, came together with the dream of creating an awareness campaign for maternal mental health. We formed and created the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP) and in 2017, falling within the week that World Maternal Mental Health Day ran, we launched the first ever UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week.

We recently welcomed three new members – The Motherhood Group, Prosperity’s and Roshni 2 Project.

What is this year’s theme? We are delighted to announce the theme for this year’s Awareness Week is ‘Journeys toRecovery’. Over the last year, the ways in which services have changed to be delivered in alternative ways, due to Covid, has shown that the approach to recovery has been individual. When surveying people about the ideas for this year’s Week, we received a huge number of requests for us to highlight how to seek support for mums and families during this unusual time, alongside detailing the different ways in which recovery can take place.

We will provide a supportive platform where we can reassure families and signpost them to vital resources and safe support which is what people need most at this time.This will allow us to show how medications, various therapies and alternative approaches such as Art / Craft therapy and Mindfulness can be used to create differing Journeys to Recovery. Everyone will recover but watch in their own individual way.

Our energies will focus on ensuring parents feel well informed & supported at this time when anxieties are heightened for so many, and all the resources created and provided during the week will be available afterwards for you to pick up when you need it.


Launch Day Photo: For the first time ever, we have decided to ask people if they would feel comfortable to share a photograph of what has helped or is helping their recovery. We know that many people will not want to show their face on social media and that is okay – your photo could be your journal notes, a craft you have made, some crotchet, a song, your medication, details of your therapy.You might even want to post of picture of your shoes or climbing boots to signify your journey to recovery. Whateveryou feel.

If you are a health care professional or support mums and families in the perinatal period and want to get involved, we would love to see photos of how you do this!

You can post these photos on 3rd May, which is the first day of the campaign or post them at any point in the week,using the hashtag #myjourneytorecovery

We will collate the photo into a lovely series of collages of hope.


Themed days: We will be running themed days, and each will have its own unique hashtag.

Monday 3rd May - The focus of the first day of the campaign will be ‘What is Maternal Mental Health’? We will provide an overview of the different illnesses that affect women in the perinatal period.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhpwhatismaternalmh

Tuesday 4th May- We will be focusing on what good support looks like and the theme for the day will be ‘Reaching out for Support’. Support can be wide ranging from advice and help from health care professionals, medication, therapy, help from the voluntary sector and safe peer support.

We will also encourage charities, local peer support groups and services to share their details on social media so families know what support is available across the UK. This could include details of the service, contact information, the areas they cover, information on safeguarding policies, training and supervision they have in place for staff and volunteers.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhpreachingoutforsupport

Wednesday 5th May - This is World Maternal Mental Health Day, and we are UK representatives for the day.

Our theme for the day will be the ‘Global Perinatal Positivity Pot’ focusing on how we work together to remove barriers to services so all families who need services can access them and share resources from across the world.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhpglobalppp

Thursday 6th May - We will be focusing on what support is available for friends and family of those who are experiencing maternal mental illness.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhplookingafteryouandyours

Friday 7th May – The theme will be ‘Your Journeys to Recovery’ and we will look at recovery and how it can look different for each person but with the message that it can and does happen.

We will be encouraging the sharing of articles, blogs and vlogs about recovery, looking ahead to the future and self-care.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhpyourjourneystorecovery

Saturday 8th May - We will be sharing content about Paternal Mental Health, led by our member Dr Andy Mayers.

Hashtag for the day will be #pmhppaternalmh

Sunday 9th May – We will be posting highlights from the week.


Online activities

As ever, we will be running a series of online support sessions and have created these in response to feedback provided over the year.

People watching the live sessions will be able to interact with the hosts and ask questions during some and the sessions will be available permanently to playback via the PMHP Facebook / Instagram pages. To view the sessions and / or take part, simply access the PMHP Facebook or Instagram page at the listed day and time.

Facebook page is here - https://www.facebook.com/PerinatalMHPartnershipUK/

Instagram page is here - @perinatalmhpartnership

Our previous live sessions have been viewed around 80,000 times. Feedback received from mums tell us that the sessions provided them with information and hope that they aren’t alone and information to support them recover. They have also proved useful for health care professionals.

This year’s events are below:

3rd May – Join us on our Facebook Page at 2pm where we be collaborating with The Lantern Initiative (https://www.thelanterninitiative.co.uk/), discussing ‘Maternal Mental Health in the Muslim Community’

4th May – Join us for a session on our Factbook Page at 11am, where we will be collaborating with Lucy Warwick-Gasp (@Lucy_W_Guasp), discussing ‘Ensuring PerianalMental Health Services are inclusive of LGBTQ Parents’.

4th May – Join us at 1pm on our Instagram Page where we will be collaborating with Insight Iae (@insight_aie),discussing ‘Parental Wellbeing and Black Maternal Mental Health’.

4th May – Join us at 7pm on our Instagram Page where we will be collaborating with The LGBT Mummies Tribe (@lgbt_mummies_tribe) where we will be discussing ‘Support for LGBT+ Women and People on the Path toParenthood’.

5th May – Join us at 11am on our Facebook Page where we will be collaborating with Kavita, The Unlikely Mummy (@theunlikelymummy) for a session on ‘Mindfulness and Motherhood’.

5th May – Join us at 6pm on our Instagram Page where we will be collaborating with artist Onome Otite @onomeotite for a ‘Textile Collage Workshop’. Viewers will be able to create their own mixed-media collage using recycled materials’.

5th May - Join our member Rosey for #PNDHOUR at 8pm on Twitter. Rosey runs this highly successful twitter hour each Wednesday throughout the year at 8pm and discusses different aspect of perinatal mental illness each week. For more information on #PNDHour see http://pndandme.co.uk/what-is-pndhour/ . You can follow Rosey on Twitter @PNDandMe and details of the subject to be covered will be announced shortly

5th May – Join our members The Motherhood Group (@themotherhoodgroup) at 8pm over on Clubhouse for a session about ‘Black Maternal Mental Health’.

6th May – Join us at 11am on our Facebook Page where we will be collaborating with Sarah Jane from @fitfannyadams about ‘Pelvic Floor and Postpartum Healing’.

6th May – Join us at 7pm on our Instagram Page where we will be collaborating with Dr Orinayo Onabanjo (@londonperinatalwellness) where we will be discussing ‘Tokophobia, the fear of pregnancy and childbirth’.

7th May – Join us at 11am for a session on our Facebookpage where we will be collaborating with Lauren Hans (@laurenhanstherapy), discussing ‘The benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the symptoms of maternal mental illness.’

7th May – Join us for a session a 2pm on our InstagramPage where we will be collaborating with Dr Kimberley (@drkimberley) discussing ‘How to approach your doctor if you are experiencing symptom of maternal mental illness’.

7th May – Join us for a session on both our Instagram and Facebook pages where we are collaborating with the East London Mother and Baby Unit. Mother and Baby Units provide specialist care for mothers and babies when they are experiencing severe mental illness.

We are also delighted to be able to reveal that we are teaming up with the incredible Mothership Writers (@mothershipwriters) for a session about creative writing, with Sergeant Jennifer Sharps who the National Lead for Maternal Mental Health in Policing, and founder of @blueminds_wg, to discuss perinatal mental health support in the force and Menucha ( menucha_london) to look atsupport for Orthodox Jewish families.

We will also be holding watch sessions via our Facebook page of our suite of previous Facebook Lives. These include:

- Signs, Symptoms and what we can offer you with the Association of Postnatal Illness.

- Hard to reach or easy to ignore – Improving access to maternal mental healthcare in the South Asian Community with Farah Lunat.

- Accessing Support from your health visitor with the Institute of Health Visiting

- Perinatal OCD with Maria Bavetta and Dr Fiona Challacombe. Perinatal OCD can revolve around significant fear of harm coming to a baby, with upsetting intrusive thoughts, and some people find themselves so distressed that they will take measures to manage their anxiety or prevent their fears coming true. This can be deeply distressing and parents who suffer from these symptoms are often scared of their thoughts. Maria and Fiona discussed these issues.

- Getting support from Healthcare Professionals with Dr Stephanie De Giorgio. We know that approaching a healthcare professional when feeling low while pregnant or after having a baby can be a difficult step to take. Therefore, GP Dr Stephanie De Giorgio provided tips on how to talk about your symptoms to a healthcare professional and advised on the steps that may be taken once you have done this to ensure you get support in your recovery.

- An overview of Postpartum Psychosis. This was a great opportunity to hear from APP professionals and volunteers about how this psychiatric emergency is diagnosed, treated and recovered from.

- Young mums and their mental health and wellbeing. The Young Mums Support Network and Young Mums Aid are two social enterprises who are working grass roots with mothers in the local community. They ran this Facebook live and discussed some of the real complex challenges young mums face which impacts their mental health and wellbeing.

- The influence of BAME maternal community groups and mental wellbeing with The Motherhood Group. This was presented by Sandra Igwe from The Motherhood Group, which is a support network where black women can talk about the issues they are facing.

- Breastfeeding and antidepressants. Pharmacist Wendy Jones held this session to outline information about taking antidepressants while breastfeeding and which ones are compatible.

- Post Adoption Depression. Brie, who founded the Colours of Adoption blog, held this session to discuss her personal experience of this little discussed illness to both raise awareness and make a difference for future adoptive families.

- Peer Support in the Perinatal Period. This session was run by Juno, a perinatal charity in Edinburgh. They outlined the importance of and how powerful safe peer support can be to support mums.

- Engaging with Health Care Professionals and accessing peer support. Smile Group led this session where they challenged the stereotypical views of what a peer support group is like, provided an overview of what is involved and introduced their pioneering GP appointment checklist which helps mums who find it difficult to verbalise their symptoms.

- Recovery and talking to your children about your illness – In this session our member Eve Canavan BEM talked about her personal experience of Postpartum Psychosis, recovery and the tools that can support it. She was also joined by her nine-year-old son Joe where they spoke about discussing the experience with him.

- Dads and mental health. Dads in Mind ran a session dedicated to fathers with a peer support worker and a Perinatal psychiatrist.

- Art session with Ali from Mumsaid

- Recovery with Rosie from Cocoon Family Support

Resources you may find helpful

- We are delighted to share this google drive with you that contains infographics for the week, promotional posters for our online sessions and launch posters in a number of different languages - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=11PtrgzxY7ye3noVjJccQbfuFHmoPjv0x

- Appointment checklist - http://www.thesmilegroup.org/help-from-the-professionals/

- Postpartum Psychosis resources - https://www.app-network.org/what-is-pp/app-guides/

- Postnatal Depression leaflets - https://apni.org/leaflets/

- Perinatal resources - https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/members/your-faculties/perinatal-psychiatry/news-and-resources/building-capacity-in-perinatal-bursary-project (resources for the public)

- A directory of maternal mental health support services during Covid, with an overview of the illness, symptoms and resources from our member Eve Canavan ( @eviecanavan) https://smalltimemum1.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/support-when-mums-need-it-most-perinatal-mental-health-support-during-covid-19-and-beyond/

What can you do to get involved?

Follow us on our social media channels:

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PerinatalMHPartnershipUK/

Twitter- @PMHPUK

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/perinatalmhpartnership/

Take a look at our website – www.perinatalmhpartnership.com

Use the #journeystorecovery #maternalmhmatters hashtag on social media when referring to the week and the daily specific hashtags if relating to the daily theme.

Tag the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership in any posts you make during the week

Highlight what your organisation/charity/support group does to support families affected by perinatal mental illness.

Get in touch

We are more than happy to support media requests and will promote your activities for the week! Contact us via perinatalmhpartnershipuk@gmail.com.

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