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APP News March 2022: Happy Mother's Day | We are here for you | Mother and Baby Unit campaign | Awareness-raising | In the media update | Research | Our fabulous fundraisers | Dates for your diary | Events and more
Happy Mother's Day

The APP team would like to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day for Sunday. 

However you plan to spend the day, we hope it will be a special time for you. We'll be marking the day by sharing personal stories of some of the battles we've faced on the road to motherhood and celebrating mums. 

For those who find the day difficult, feeling like recovery from postpartum psychosis is still some way off or remembering mums who are no longer with us, APP is here to support you. Our volunteers are on the forum every day of the year, or you can request email or video call support here.  

To help us support more mums this Mother's Day give £5 by texting APPY001 to 70970 or find out more about planning a fundraising event.
 

We are here for you


We know that anxieties about health, NHS services, the cost of living and conflicts abroad are causing difficulties for many people at this time. 

If you are struggling with your mental health do get in touch with us on the forum, via email, request one-to-one support or join a café group. 

We’ve put together a list of ideas which are not only good for mums recovering from PP but also for anyone who wants to focus on their wellbeing. From taking time for a walk around the park, to mindfulness meditation to a phone call with a friend, you can see ideas from the APP team as well as our community on Instagram.

Next month’s APP Book Club will be focusing on self-care too. We’ll be discussing ‘A Mindfulness Guide for Survival’ by Ruby Wax. For more details see our Facebook events page.
Mother and Baby Unit campaign

There are now 151 Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) beds across England, 12 in Scotland, six in South Wales and none in Northern Ireland. Many women across the UK are still unable to access specialist treatment and are separated from their baby at the most critical time in their life as a mum. 

You can read more about APP’s campaigning for MBUs and add your voice here

Scottish MBU consultation

The Scottish government has launched a consultation into Mother and Baby Unit provision in the country.

Scotland has one MBU in Livingston and one in Glasgow. Each unit has space for six women and their babies at any one time. A recent report found only around half of postnatal women who require admission in Scotland are cared for in an MBU.

The Scottish government is seeking views on MBUs and what can make it difficult for women to access the service. It also wants to hear views on the recommendation that four additional beds are needed in Scotland. The main options that have been discussed are whether these beds should be in existing units or whether a new unit is needed that is more accessible to women in the North of Scotland.

APP will be writing a response to the consultation. We’d also like to encourage members of our network, volunteers and anyone in Scotland who has been affected by PP to share their thoughts. The link to the consultation is here. It closes on 31st May. 

Northern Ireland campaigning

A petition launched by APP volunteer, Oorlagh Quinn, calling for a Mother and Baby Unit in Northern Ireland has reached 3,400 signatures. Northern Ireland does not have an MBU to help treat women diagnosed with PP. If you have experienced PP and live in Northern Ireland please get in touch. We'd love to hear your story. There may be opportunities to become a volunteer with us to support others or share your story about care for PP in Northern Ireland. To find out more about Oorlagh’s campaign for an MBU in Northern Ireland and to sign the petition, click here.

North Wales progress

Please also get in touch if you live in North Wales where there is also no regional MBU, meaning women have to travel long distance to an MBU, or have treatment in a General Adult Unit. We’d love to hear your story.

Nia’s petition has now closed, gaining 7,700 signatures. Thank you so much to everyone who supported it. It has been considered by the petitions committee, who have requested progress updates from Welsh ministers. They will then decide if the issue will be debated in the Senedd.
Awareness-raising
 
"It’s so important for our stories to be told”
APP volunteer, Lobeh Osagie-Asiah

APP is proud to be supporting three theatre projects which feature women’s experiences of postpartum psychosis. Here's a round-up:

after birth

APP supported research and development for ‘after birth’, a dark comedy set in a Mother and Baby Unit. The production has just finished its UK tour. APP staff and volunteers were delighted to support the tour, attending panel discussions, handing out information and offering peer support for those who needed it.  

APP Training and Research Coordinator, Sally Wilson, attended a private performance at Omnibus Theatre, London, which was organised for Midwifery Students at City University. Sally took part in a panel discussion (pictured above) after the play alongside Zena Forster (playwright and producer), the actors, and academics from the University of Oxford and City, University of London. The midwifery students were able to ask the actors about how they prepared to play the roles and how Zena worked with APP to create a realistic and sensitive portrayal of PP. 

Sally says: “The play was incredibly powerful, intense at times, clever, emotional, funny and hopeful. The playwright, director, and actors have captured the horrors of PP, but also portray the hope and recovery journey after severe perinatal mental illness. Thank you to everyone involved.”

APP volunteer, Lobeh Osagie-Asiah, also watched the show. You can read her review of after birth in Mental Health Today.
 
BABYNUN XO

APP has been supporting writer and actress Lauren-Nicole Mayes with research for her screen play BABYNUN X0, which explores PP. Lauren is a writer and actress from Blackpool, and broke into the world of writing having noticed a lack of stories being told representing the women who had raised her. 

Lauren says: “This is a story of the women, the mothers we don’t make space to see because they don’t fit our image, not so pretty, not so twee. It’s the Northern dads, Betfair dads, eat your chips on a pony dads, navigating their way into being a dad, wishing they were young lads, watching their partners go mad. It’s their story too. It’s our mothers story, the mothers before us and the mothers before them, and if you don’t have one, a mum I mean, what happens then?

Lauren has been selected as a finalist for the Box Of Tricks/Sky Studios ScreenPlay Award. With support from Arts Council England and The Lowry, Lauren is beginning a five day research and development period. Following this, she’ll be sharing up to 60 minutes of script-in-hand content in April which a group of women from APP will have the chance to comment upon.   
The Good Enough Mums Club

The musical, The Good Enough Mums Club, is produced, written, directed and performed by mums. Five women thrown together by motherhood, overcome their isolation, loneliness, judgment and perfectionism to discover that they’re stronger as a group than as individuals, and that sometimes, being good enough is best. It’s being staged in Salford, London and Southampton this April and May ahead of a full tour in 2023. 

APP has been supporting with research and development and will attend an R&D showing at the Lowry in Manchester in June. APP’s Natalie watched an early version of the show when it was performed in Birmingham last November. She says:

A group of 15 women from work, all professionals in Perinatal Mental Health attended the show, with mixed expectations. The writer/director told us a little about her recovery journey from postpartum psychosis, and explained that the show is in its infancy and the performers will be introducing their characters through the songs in the piece. We were literally at the birth of Good Enough Mums Club!

The show is filled with ups and downs much like a mental health journey, the characters were all from different walks of life, with one thing in common – kids, and venturing into motherhood. At times there were belly laughs, at others heart wrenching tears.

I am eager to see the finished show when it returns to Birmingham, and would highly recommend!  Just take some tissues and some Tena Ladies!”


To book tickets for this year’s performances go to www.goodenoughmumsclub.com/book.
Student midwife training sessions

We are delighted to be supporting face-to-face lived experience talks and training again, as well as online sessions. To book a lived experience talk or attend an APP training day email us. 

Hannah Bissett, APP’s NHS Projects Coordinator, writes….

“It was great to be back face to face with student midwives in York and Huddersfield in February - both are "local" universities to me and I have delivered lived experience talks to students for many years, whilst as a Regional Rep volunteer with APP and now as a staff member.

Both groups were really engaged and interested in my experience of PP and the information and support that APP provides, including our work partnering with NHS Trusts which is now my main area of work. Thanks to the lecturers, Becky Beggan (York) and Steve Hogarth (Huddersfield) for the opportunity to be part of sessions with the students. It really is powerful to know that the next generation of healthcare professionals hold lived experience and perinatal mental health so high in their learning journey."
In the media

BBC Wales broadcast a special programme in March about Unit of Hope, the country’s only Mother and Baby Unit. APP supported the programme makers with their research and the programme featured APP volunteers Danielle Thomas and Barbara Cunningham who shared their experiences of PP and the role they played in campaigning for the new unit. Listen again to the programme here

APP’s Training and Research Coordinator Sally Wilson was interviewed on BBC Radio Norfolk on Thursday 10th March with Zena Forster who wrote the play ‘after birth’. They highlighted the impact of PP on women and their families, ahead of the play’s performance in Norwich. Listen to the interview here (listen from 31:15).

APP Storyteller Charity Horton shared her experience of PP following the birth of her triplets in The Mirror and Hull Daily Mail

APP Chief Executive, Dr Jess Heron, and volunteers Gillian, Karen and Jade, spoke to Big Issue North about the need to raise more awareness of PP. You can read the full article here.
 

Fundraisers


We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of our fundraisers. We would like to thank everyone who has hosted an event in aid of APP, as well as those who have donated; your support really is appreciated.

Charity places available:
2022 Royal Parks Half Marathon
. We have a charity place in the 2022 Royal Parks Half marathon which will take place on Sunday 9th October in London. The 13.1 mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Please email if you are interested in being one of our runners.

2022 virtual London Marathon. APP has three charity places in this year’s virtual TCS London Marathon which takes place on Sunday 2nd October. Participants will have 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the 26.2 miles on the course of their choice. Please email if you are interested in being one of our three runners.

Kiltwalk in Scotland. Registration is now open for this year’s Kiltwalk events in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. They’re suitable for walkers of all ages and experiences. Search for routes and mileage as well as sign up on the website.

Miles for Mums and Babies Challenge:
APP would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting our #MilesForMumsAndBabies challenge. We’re aiming to raise more than £10,000 to support our work by asking people to walk, run or cycle 10 miles, 20 miles, 500 miles or even 1,000 miles! Each mile reflects the journey mums, babies, partners and families travel to be together, whilst mums receive care in Mother and Baby Units (MBUs). We’ve had a fantastic response to the challenge so far. And we’d like to thank the #MilesforMumsAndBabies fundraisers who have completed their challenges. They include:

Alice Stroud, an APP volunteer, is taking part in five triathlons working towards the Olympic triathlon distance (a 1,500-metre swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run). Alice experienced psychosis twice during pregnancy in 2019 and into 2020 and was helped by APP’s peer support. She’s completed two triathlons with three more to go – the next one is in May. She’s raised more than £1,400 so far. You can support her here

The team at Birmingham Mother and Baby Unit are planning to climb Snowdon in June for APP. More than twenty members of staff from the Chamomile Suite at the Barberry will be taking part in the challenge. You can support their JustGiving page here

We welcome new Facebook Fundraisers each month, many of whom have supported APP and raised awareness of postpartum psychosis by holding a birthday fundraiser. It has been lovely to celebrate your special day with you. 

If you are a keen runner, walker or cyclist, please join our Active APP Facebook group. We are planning some exciting active challenges for 2022, and would love our cyclists and active supporters to join us for these fundraising and awareness raising challenges. 

If you have any fundraising ideas or would like to get involved, contact fundraising@app-network for more information. We would love to support you. To keep up to date and support our fundraisers click here.
Research

APP supports all types of research into PP. If you are a researcher and would like us to support your research, please get in touch at an early stage in planning. If you have experience of PP and would like to help advise on research, or have a research background, please contact research@app-network.org.

What’s in a Story? A Narrative Inquiry into Women’s Experiences of Postnatal Psychological Distress
Sarah Griffiths (Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy, Metanoia Institute) is looking for women to take part in her research into the stories that women tell about their experiences of early motherhood in the context of postpartum psychosis. Participants must be over 18 years of age, be two years on from their experience and have accessed psychological intervention (e.g. talking therapy) as part of their recovery. Email sarah.griffiths@metanoia.ac.uk for more information.

Understanding beliefs and emotional experiences following postnatal mental health difficulties  
Erica Maloney (Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Royal Holloway University of London) is looking for women to take part in on online research study. Participants must have had a baby in the past two years, be aged over 18 and be living in the UK. Email Erica.Maloney.2019@live.rhul.ac.uk if you would like more information.
 
Dates for your diary

Mother’s Day (UK), Sunday 27th March 

APP Sussex and Hampshire virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 30th March: APP Facebook events page

World Bipolar day, Wednesday 30th March www.bipolaruk.org/bipolar-awareness-day 

APP North East and Cumbria face to face café group meet up, Monday 4th April: APP Facebook events page

World Health Day, Thursday 7th April

APP London virtual café group meet up, Thursday 7th April: APP Facebook events page

APP Partners virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 20th April: APP Facebook events page

APP Book Club: A Mindfulness Guide for Survival, Tuesday 26th April: APP Facebook events page

APP Grandparents virtual café group meet up, Thursday 28th April: APP Facebook events page

APP Partners virtual café group meet up, Wednesday 18th May: APP Facebook events page
 
Upcoming conferences and events

Bipolar UK conference, Wednesday 30th March
Free online conference on World Bipolar Day, 6pm - 9pm. Anyone affected by bipolar is welcome to join. For places click here.

Acacia's launch of six multilingual films on perinatal mental health issues, Monday 4th April
Acacia Family Support has produced a series of short films each in a different language: Punjabi, Mirpuri, Urdu, Gujarati, Slovakian and Dari (English subtitles). Each film aims to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues in a culturally appropriate way and explain how to seek help. To join the online launch event, book here.

The 7th Annual Birth Trauma Summit, Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th May
Online summit featuring speakers focusing on the summit themes of Harm and Healing from Birth Trauma. More information and book tickets here.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Show, Tuesday 10th May
Day-long show at Cardiff City Hall with seminars focusing on topics including coping with mental illness, supporting others and promoting positive mental health. Book tickets here.

If you would like to advertise your event here, please get in touch: app@app-network.org.
Copyright © 2022 Action on Postpartum Psychosis, All rights reserved.
www.app-network.org

Our mailing address is:
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
PO Box 137
Swansea
SA3 9BT

T: 020 33229900
E: app@app-network.org

Action on Postpartum Psychosis is a Charity Registered in England and Wales (no. 1139925) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (no. 7466643). Registered address: Action on Postpartum Psychosis, International House, 12 Constance Street, London, E16 2DQ.

APP is a founder member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. You can find out more here.

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