The London Perinatal Mental Health Networks held their sixth annual conference on 6th February 2020 at the Royal College of Psychiatrists bringing together over 173 guests including, lived experience experts, midwives, student midwives, psychiatrists, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals from across the region.
The conference theme ‘Making a difference – the impact of change’ was a reflection of the progress London has made in improving outcomes for women and their families accessing perinatal mental health care. The programme started with national and regional programme updates – celebrating successes in improving access to care and looking forward to the future of perinatal mental health as we prepare to implement the NHS Long Term Plan.
Updates were also received from colleagues who shared on the integration of maternal and perinatal mental health care across the system.
There were a range of service users and experts by experience who shared their compelling stories, emphasising the support received through all stages of their journeys. Fiona Putnam, mother of two, shared her captivating experience of suffering from postpartum psychosis after having a second child.
Delegates were also presented with the opportunity to partake in a brief adapted yoga session led by Martina Diep, who shared the benefits of yoga practise in improving mental health and wellbeing.
Rebecca Dwek gave a presentation on the Manucha Project which provides targeted support for women and their families from the Jewish community, with hopes to share learning with other groups that may have difficulties accessing the right care.
With an ever increasing focus on support for dads and partners, Nev Walters gave an exciting talk on his experience playing a key role in the ‘Being Dad’ project by Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich MIND.
The remainder of the programme shared informative presentations from breastfeeding and maternal mental health, to the introduction of the pharmacist role into perinatal services and ending with research findings on BAME women accessing perinatal mental health care.
Thanks are given to the London Perinatal Mental Health Networks and the dedicated professionals who continue to drive the passion for perinatal mental health care across London. The success of the conference was a true testament of the hard work shared by all.
For more information on Perinatal Mental Health visit, www.healthylondon.org/our-work/perinatal