Maternal Mental Health Matters Week April 30th – 6th May

Last week Dr Mackintosh, Consultant Psychiatrist with Cornwall's Perinatal Mental Health Team, had been giving radio interviews to Pirate FM and Radio Cornwall to promote Maternal Mental Health Matters Week. Organised by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and now in it's second year the week of events seeks to reduce the taboo around maternal mental illness and encourage women who might be struggling to come forward for the help they can get.

Perinatal Mental Health Team Baby Massage Training

Seven members of the Perinatal Mental Health Team together with a Peer Support member undertook a two day Baby Massage Training Course in January with Peter Walker an internationally renowned Physical Therapist who has been working with babies, children and families for over 30 years. 

Some of the key benefits of early massage and skin to skin physical contact stimulates the release of the "love hormone" , oxytocin and "stress relievers", endorphins. The sense of touch increases confidence and makes the baby feel protected and loved which strengthens physical and emotional bonds and encourages feelings of tranquillity. 

The team valued the opportunity to participate in the training and are looking forward to delivering this therapeutic intervention with identified mums and babies referred to the Perinatal team across the county.

Baby Massage

County Perinatal Services Expand following Funding Boost

 The service, provided by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust now has a range of clinicians including mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, specialist nursery nurses, psychologists and increased consultant cover.

The service, provided by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust now has a range of clinicians including mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, specialist nursery nurses, psychologists and increased consultant cover.

After successfully obtaining additional funding from NHS England, the Perinatal Mental Health Service has expanded significantly and is now able to offer a more enhanced service across Cornwall.

Mandy Raywood, Specialist Perinatal Team Leader said, “Our target group are women who have a significant mental illness or been identified as at risk of developing one during their perinatal period. This period covers pregnancy up to the baby’s first birthday and includes women who have bipolar disorder, puerperal or postpartum psychosis, schizophrenia and significant depression and anxiety.

Mandy added, “We offer pre-conceptual advice to women in this group who are considering having a baby. This includes consideration of risk factors; the treatments available, medications, a care pathway and a crisis and contingency plan that could be put in place should the mum have a relapse around the time of having a baby. This then enables the woman to make an informed choice about her pregnancy.”

Most referrals come from midwives who ask about mental ill health when women are registering their pregnancies. The team focuses on wellbeing and things that will help mum to stay well during her pregnancy and post-natal period.

For mums who have been identified as being in need of more help, the service offers a consultant appointment, psychiatric medication advice in pregnancy and breastfeeding, specialist psychological interventions, attachment based interventions to support the relationship between mum and baby, and birth planning.  Birth planning entails drawing services together later in pregnancy to develop a care plan accommodating the mum’s mental health needs around the time of delivery and immediate post-natal period.

The care plan is then placed in the mum’s maternity records and shared with all professionals involved in providing care, the midwife, health visitor and GP. Partners and extended family members are also included wherever possible throughout the services involvement.

The service also has a dedicated group of peer supporters who have experienced significant perinatal mental health problems and are involved in developing the perinatal services further. They have been involved in recruiting staff and providing training for professionals, they also run peer support groups in the St Austell area.

The perinatal team recently celebrated the expansion of their team by organising a successful re-launch event to promote their services. This was held at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and was attended by clinicians and experts in the perinatal field who were available to offer advice and guidance to visitors.

To find out more about the perinatal service or to speak to a member of the Perinatal Mental Health Team please call (01872) 221031 in office hours.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, playing your part or having your say to help shape and influence the Trust’s services why not join us and become a member.

For more information please contact the Membership Office on 01208 834639 or visit www.cornwallft.nhs.uk and search ‘membership’ to download an application form.

Exciting Times for the Perinatal Team

The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team have been successful in their application to NHS England for additional funding to expand the existing perinatal team.

We have recently shortlisted 5 candidates for interview for 2 band 6 Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Nurse posts and will be interviewing just before Christmas.

We will also be advertising for a range of other disciplines including an Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Nursery Nurses, Psychologist and more Medical staffing. Exciting times and we hope  the service will be more accessible and equitable across the county for women in the perinatal period.

Annual General Meeting

The Angela Harrison Charitable Trust held its Annual General Meeting on 08 June 2016. We welcomed Mandy Raywood, Manager of the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team at Cornwall Foundation Trust, to the committee.

Sandra Batty has been re-elected as Treasurer, Jackie Harrison as Secretary and Dr Adrian Flynn as Chair.

We are looking forward to another year of campaigning, fundraising and educating across Cornwall in perinatal mental health.

National Expert Visits Cornwall

Last year the Trust organised for Dr Liz MacDonald a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist from London with over 30 years’ experience in the area to come to Cornwall. Liz delivered three tailored half-day teaching programmes for Health Visitors and Midwives, Community Mental Health staff, GP’s and Psychiatrists. The training took place at the Alverton Manor and the Knowledge Spa. In total almost 200 local health professionals received some excellent specialist training.

The local Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service gave updates on the local perinatal pathway and their role and activities. Our feedback showed that the training was extremely well received and we hope to be able to deliver similar training in the future.

Celebrity Spotlight

There has been a lot of coverage in the news about post natal depression following the Heroes star Hayden Panettierre’s revelation of her own problems.  Hayden said that while she hasn’t experienced the extreme levels of depression some women do after giving birth, she has found it difficult at times.

“I can very much relate,” she  confessed.  “It’s something a lot of women experience.  When you’re told about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child.’  I’ve never, ever had those feelings.”

“Some women do, but you don’t realise how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on.  It’s something that needs to be talked about.  Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”

Acress Drew Barrymore has also opened up about what it felt like to suffer from post natal depression after the birth of her second child.  The 40 year old actress, who is mum to Olive, three, and Frankie, 18 months, said she wasn’t prepared for how overwhelming it would be after giving birth to Frankie.  “I didn’t have postpartum the first time so I didn’t understand it because I was like, ‘I feel great’,” she told PEOPLE Magazine.   “The second time, I was like ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now.  I understand’.  It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second.  I really got under a cloud.”

We hope that Hayden and Drew’s decision to go public with their own difficulties will help more people to understand that PND can affect anyone, even film stars with seemingly ‘perfect’ and glamorous lives, and that seeking help is an essential step.

Postnatal Depression Affects Fathers Too

Postnatal depression has traditionally been seen as a condition that affects mothers.  However, research suggests that the condition is not restricted to mums.  A study by Paulson in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2010 found that roughly 10% of men became depressed during their partner’s pregnancy or after birth – not much lower than the rate of 13-14% seen in new mothers.  Interestingly, postpartum depression seems to develop more slowly in men than in women and is most prevalent between 3 and 6 months after birth, whereas women tend to experience its onset within a matter of weeks.

Although the causes of postnatal depression differ slightly between men and women, with hormonal changes playing a bigger role in mothers, the effects are similar regardless with the potential to create problems at work, with relationships and also have a detrimental impact on father-child bonding.  This in turn can have effects on child development.  Studies have shown that the children of fathers with untreated postnatal depression may suffer from language delay and emotional and behavioural problems in the long term.

So the message is – ‘sometimes dads need help too”.  Please see your doctor if you have persistent low mood, fatigue, appetite changes, feelings of worthlessness or loss of interest/enjoyment in things you previously found pleasurable.  Help is at hand for you too …..

Our 10th Anniversary – “TIN”

It is our 10 year anniversary this year so I looked up which traditional present for this event you would expect to find and came up with Tin.  This is very ironic as we are a Cornish charity trust.

Thinking about the word “TIN” and what this could symbolise to the Angela Harrison Charitable Trust, I was hit by the simplicity of it all.  The word links beautifully with our current ethos and the direction we are now following in this way:

T = Training

We have found through our experience over the past 10 years that the most important factor in the prevention and treatment of Postnatal Depression is to train the people who will meet, treat and support families who are experiencing the condition.

I = Information

That’s what we do best!  By providing the resources like leaflets (in the red baby books), posters, training guides and providing book lending schemes to professionals working in the healthcare system, we inform on symptoms, current available treatments and help signpost sufferers to the best information, care and support in the area.

Exchange of information helps keep the spotlight on the condition and stops it from being forgotten about.  Keeping it current encourages better communication and best practice can be shared.

N = Nurture

Nurturing trainee and new professionals by providing training, motivation and opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with like-minded people promotes positive change in the attitudes of all who treat, support and care for those suffering with Postnatal Depression.

The Angela Harrison Charitable Trust was founded on the tragedy of the untimely death of Angela 10 years ago whilst suffering from Puerperal Psychosis.

Over the past 10 years we have worked to achieve many things, the most successful being the new Perinatal Mental Health Service and the study days held every 2 years.

We have increased awareness of Postnatal Depression, created a website, support groups, book lending service, literature and leaflets etc and fostered links between organisations on a national level.

Our aim is to increase awareness of Postnatal Depression and to ensure that through this, sufferers and their families will have the help, information and support needed to make a successfull recovery …

We will keep on working toward this aim and would like to thank all the people who have helped us get this far – the fundraisers, the professionals who give their time and share their knowledge and on a personal level, the rest of the members of the Trust – past and present, who without their dedication, time and effort, we wouldn’t be here today.

Thank you all.

Educational events for health professionals in Cornwall

The Angela Harrison Charitable Trust is sponsoring three unique educational events for health professionals in Cornwall.  Dr Liz MacDonald, an expert in Perinatal Mental Health, will be coming to Cornwall and delivering tailored lectures and workshops for Psychiatric Nurses, Health Visitors and GP’s.  This is going to take place on 30 November, 1 and 2 December – details to follow.