Through blogging about my mental health battles I have met many wonderful, courageous and inspiring people; fellow parents & survivors of Perinatal Mental Illness, passionate healthcare providers and members of local government & charities. All of these people share a common goal – to provide better understanding of and services for those suffering from Postnatal Depression, Anxiety and a whole range of other perinatal mental health issues.
Ongoing & Past Projects
I’ve written before about the awesome PND Hour – founded and run by Rosey at PND & Me, this weekly Twitter chat provides a place for sufferers, advocates & healthcare providers to discuss all aspects of perinatal mental health, and provide information and peer support for those currently unwell. January 2017 marks three years since Rosey began PND Hour, which is an enormous achievement.
RCGP Mental Health Toolkit
Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to play a tiny part in this huge, brilliant project from Dr Carrie Ladd and her colleagues at The Royal College of GPs. They have created a fantastic resource for GPs, and the general population. I’ve written about the project and added all the details here. You can access the toolkit here.
Lotus Petal Family Support
I met Sarah Wood, founder of Lotus Petal, a couple of years ago and last summer she kindly asked me to become a part of her project. She currently runs a support group for mums who are struggling at Little Lions Childrens’ Centre on Canvey Island in Essex and we’re making plans to start another group in my local area of Southend. Watch this space for details.
As well as the support group, Sarah and I have big ideas for where we would like to take Lotus Petal in future and the many services we’d like to provide for parents in our area. In the meantime, please take the time to find out more at www.lotuspetalpnd.co.uk.
Healthwatch Mental Health Ambassador
In August 2016 I began work as a mental health ambassador for Healthwatch Essex. This is a year long project with the aim of local government working with ambassadors across all areas of mental health who have some form of lived experience, with the ultimate aim of vastly improving mental health services in Essex. You can find out more about my role here or visit www.healthwatchessex.org.uk to read more about their work.
Local Government & Services
Essex County Council recently won a bid for a large amount of funding for perinatal mental health services and we hope to be able to help shape how some of this money is allocated and to ensure that all the various organisations in the area work together to provide the best care for parents who are struggling. I hope to update you on this project when we know more.
House of Commons, 9th Dec 2016 – #HopeDec09
One of the most inspiring people I’ve met on this advocacy journey is Dr Raja Gangopadhyay, a Consultant Obstetrician with special interest in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) who is campaigning for reducing stigma and better PMH services within Maternity Units. He organised a fantastic event at the House of Commons on 9th December 2016: ‘Importance of addressing Mental Health Conditions during pregnancy and beyond.’
To find out more about this event, read my reflection post here.
I’m always very keen to get involved in mental health advocacy and to share my story and lived experience wherever possible to benefit other sufferers and hopefully improve current services. I’m happy to take part in any surveys, interviews or trials that will help develop research for future perinatal illness treatments and I’m also available for guest blogging, peer support and public speaking on this topic, as well as working with support groups and mental health charities.
If the above is something that will benefit you or your organisation please email email@example.com to discuss.