Dr Andrew Mayers

An interactive event to raise awareness about perinatal mental health and challenge stigma                         #MaternalMH                 #BUFest14

Facilitated by: Dr Andrew Mayers 

Andy is a psychologist and senior lecturer at Bournemouth University, who has worked with several perinatal mental health services over the last 11 years. He sits on several local and national perinatal mental health advisory boards (including Best Beginnings). He is also patron for Samaritans of Bournemouth & District

PowerPoint slides: Mother-infant interaction and attachment

Contributors (Groups)


This UK charity supports families suffering from pre (antenatal) and postnatal depression, and campaign to raise awareness and remove stigma

Web: www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/          Twitter: @Pandas_uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PANDASFoundation?fref=ts

PowerPoint slides: Presented by Rachael Dobson, Chair of Trustees and acting CEO

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP)

APP is a network across the UK and further afield, which includes women who have experienced PP and people with an interest in postpartum psychosis (PP). It is a collaborative project run by women who have experienced PP and academic experts from Birmingham and Cardiff Universities

Web: www.app-network.org/          Twitter: @ActionOnPP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ActionOnPP?fref=ts

PowerPoint slides: Presented by Clare Dolman, Trustee (and Chair, Bipolar UK)

Best Beginnings

The leading pregnancy and infancy charity, with health inequalities at the heart of their work. Through a maternal mental health project, they are pioneering a series of films, apps and other materials aimed at supporting families experiencing perinatal mental illness

Web: www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/          Twitter: @BestBMMH

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bestbeginningscharity?fref=ts

PowerPoint slides: Presented by David King, Maternal Mental Health Project Lead

Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA)

MMHA is a coalition of UK organisations committed to improving the mental health and well-being of women and their children in pregnancy and the first postnatal year. Early intervention can have a dramatic impact on long-term outcomes for mothers, fathers, children, families and society. Major campaign (Everyone's Business) launches July 2014, backed by Comic Relief.

Web: www.maternalmentalhealthalliance.org.uk/         

PowerPoint slides: Presented by Dr Andrew Mayers

Maternal OCD

A voluntary organisation dedicated to raising the profile of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for mothers. This debilitating anxiety disorder strips women of their fundamental right to enjoy motherhood. Maternal OCD is co-founded by two mothers, Maria Bavetta and Diana Wilson, who have recovered from extreme OCD

Web: www.maternalocd.org/          Twitter: @maternalocd

PowerPoint slides: Presented by Diana Wilson

Out of the Blue

A 5-week course (run by 'Steps 2 Wellbeing' Primary Care Mental Health Team, via Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust), aimed at challenging mild to moderate anxiety and low mood in the perinatal period. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques are explored in a collaborative way to challenge thinking and behaviour patterns with the aim of reducing anxiety and low mood

Web: http://www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk/       

Open-talk by Rachel Cowley and Rebecca Cox

Florence House, Perinatal Mother & Baby Unit, Bournemouth

Specialist Perinatal Inpatient Unit located in the seaside town of Bournemouth

and provides dedicated inpatient care for up to five mothers and their babies, and extensive community support services across Dorset.

Web: http://tinyurl.com/bjnjf5n

PowerPoint slides:

Jagoda Banovic (Service Manager)

Dr Cressida Manning (Perinatal Psychiatrist)

Dorset Mental Health Forum

A local peer led charity that aims to improve the lives of everyone affected by mental illness by promoting well-being and recovery. Established in 1992, they employ people with lived experience of mental health problems whenever possible

Web: www.dorsetmentalhealthforum.org.uk/          Twitter: @DorsetMHForum

Open-talk by Lisa Spriggs

Bipolar UK

The national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devastating condition of bipolar disorder, their families and carers

Web: www.bipolaruk.org.uk                Twitter: @BipolarUK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bipolaruk?fref=ts


I am very grateful to the following individuals who contributed personal (and often very moving) talks about their lived experience of perinatal mental illness:

Jodi Brown: Jodi is mum to two girls (6 & 3 years) and Innovation Lead and Staff Governor at Dorset HealthCare where she has worked for 6 years in a number of roles including Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Clinical Lead for the East Dorset Steps to Wellbeing Service. As a result of her own experience of postnatal depression and mental health difficulties, Jodi is passionate about sharing and valuing lived experience of mental health problems in health and social care professionals.      Twitter: @JodiMBrown

Helen Huthchings: Helen is a perinatal mental health nurse. She had postpartum psychosis following the birth of her first daughter and went on to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Helen founded Tea & Talk, which aims to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination by taking the message into the workplace                        Twitter: @teaandtalking

Paul Hutchings: Paul supported his wife when she experienced postpartum psychosis. He is a registered mental health nurse and a clinical team leader     Twitter: @PaulMentalNurse

Kathryn Grant: Kathryn is a stay-at-home mum to James (18 months), after a 12 year career in economics.  She experienced postpartum psychosis (PP) very quickly after James' traumatic labour, and they were inpatients for three months at the Bethlem Royal Hospital's mother & baby unit.  Since her recovery, Kathryn has been keen to meet others with similar experiences and to lobby for improved awareness of PP.  She has become a trustee and local support group leader for PANDAS, as well as a volunteer with Rethink Mental Illness and APP.  Kathryn writes a blog about mental health (and family life!).        Blog: http://bumpsandgrind.blogspot.co.uk    Twitter: @katgrant3      Presentation slides

Diana Wilson: Diana is co-founder of Maternal OCD. She is a recovered OCD sufferer and lived with the disorder for twenty-six years. Since her recovery, thirteen years ago, Diana has been involved with supporting others with the illness and speaks publicly to raise awareness and to give hope that perinatal OCD can be overcome          Twtter: @maternalocd

Rachael Dobson: Rachael is mum of two, Andreas (4) and Alexis (14 weeks), suffered antenatal depression,  postnatal depression and anxiety with both her children. With her husband Stuart, Rachael founded PANDAS which is now a national charity.

Clare Dolman: Clare is a journalist who went back to university a few years ago to do a Psychology degree and is currently halfway through a part-time PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, on women with bipolar disorder’s decision-making regarding pregnancy and childbirth. She herself has experience of the difficult decisions to be made at this time for women with bipolar, having had an episode of postpartum psychosis after the birth of her first child, and successfully avoided another episode after her second child was born. She has been Chair of Bipolar UK since 2010, and is also a trustee for Action on Postpartum Psychosis. Clare was diagnosed with Bipolar I at the age of 23 after being hospitalized for a severe episode of mania, but has remained largely well on lithium ever since.

At the end of this highly successful conference, many of the delegates and contributors made some pledges about how we can make a difference to perinatal mental health. A summary of those pledges can be read here. We will be following all of these up, to see how we can help turn the pledges into reality.