In 2015, Lucie Holland started a Change.org petition to highlight the urgent need for a review of postnatal depression treatment and care, after the loss of her sister Emsie to this devastating mental illness.
Today, The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has published a new report entitled; ‘Every mother must get the help they need’ inspired by Lucie’s campaign.
Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) said;
“We must act now to prevent more women from suffering or dying unnecessarily. Recovery through good support and care should be the norm if women and families everywhere have access to high quality specialist services, but it is still a postcode lottery. This has to change.”
Chief executive of Tommy’s, Jane Brewin;
“Without understanding, support, and treatment these mental illnesses have a devastating impact on the women affected and on their partners and families. But with treatment, women do get better. However, the resources and services that do exist in this area are typically provided by mental health charities. They tend to reach women with an existing mental illness diagnosis or those identified by midwives as having potential problems. Overall, there is very little that works in a preventative way, or is aimed at women at the less severe end of the spectrum of mental and emotional wellbeing.”
Our team of Tommy’s midwives support women with mental health issues during and post pregnancy on a daily basis. Tommy’s midwife Sophie says:
‘The postnatal period can be a stressful time for many mums; feeding, winding and changing your baby's nappy when you’re sleep-deprived is no walk in the park. It’s normal to feel a bit worried and exhausted in the first few weeks after giving birth. But if you continue to feel low it’s so important to get help and talk to your midwife. We’re there to help with your mental wellbeing too and can offer advice and support. Postnatal depression can affect anyone, no matter what your pregnancy or mental health history.’
If you or someone you know needs support with their mental health, you can call our midwives for advice on: 0800 0147 800 from 9-5 Monday to Friday.
Here at Tommy’s, maternal mental health is one of our top priorities and as such we are proud members of the maternal mental health alliance, a coalition of national professional and patient organisations committed to improving the mental health and well-being of women and their children in pregnancy and the first postnatal year.
As a part of our commitment to improving the health of mothers and babies, Tommy's have an unparalleled suite of resources to support women with their mental health during and after pregnancy available online.
We are looking forward to the full release of the report which will be launched at a Perinatal Mental Health roundtable event hosted by the RCM in London later today. The roundtable discussion will be chaired by Professor Lesley Regan from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
The RCM report will be available from the RCM’s website.
Some of you may have watched the new documentary from Channel 4 air on Tuesday night as part of it’s ‘Losing it: Our Mental Health Emergency’ series. The documentary followed a family in Nottingham who experienced postpartum psychosis, a rare but a very serious illness that is often unpredictable.
Charley, 35, from Edinburgh was amazed when she found out she was pregnant in 2018. She’d been warned that pregnancy might be difficult for her as, a few years before, she’d had 3 procedures to remove abnormal cells from her cervix. After a worrying bleed at 10 weeks, Charley was referred to Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth Clinic at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. With access to specialist care and monitoring, Charley’s pregnancy progressed, and baby Tommy was born in May 2019.
We recently had the pleasure of hosting two very important supporters to our Imperial Centre.
The decision to hold your baby after their death is an incredibly difficult and personal one. Stacey Skrysak tells her story.