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Merseyside comes together to support The Female Mind

13 February 2018

Regional experts from the fields of mental health and maternity care described the lack of emotional support available to pregnant and post-natal women as “the epidemic of our time” at a recent Liverpool event.

Bringing together clinicians, academics, community partners and local families for the first time, the event focused on the mental health provision accessible to women before, during and after pregnancy, and encouraged more integrated working across geographical and organisational boundaries to help improve experiences for all women.

Luciana Berger, Member or Parliament for Wavertree, and President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, said: “My daughter is just 

11 months old and I am acutely aware of the need for pregnant women and new mums to keep a close watch on their mental health. During pregnancy and the year after birth, many women will experience common mental health problems, including anxiety disorders and depression, and dads will too. Further, the risk of developing a severe mental health condition, such as postpartum psychosis, schizophrenia, severe depression or bipolar disorder, increases after childbirth. For women, it is the time that we are most likely to experience those conditions.

“The first 1,001 days of a child’s life still largely determines their life chances and life outcome, which means it is crucial that emotional and

the Royal College of Psychiatrists which explores themes such as anxiety, motherhood, eating disorders and living positively with mental illness. The book features contributions from numerous UK healthcare experts, many of whom were in attendance.

 mental health support is readily accessible to women before, during and after pregnancy.”

The evening included the Merseyside launch of “The Female Mind: a Users’ Guide” – a new book published by 



“Dr Sandeep Ranote, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and contributing author to The Female Mind, said: “We are living in the UK, where currently 1 in 4 adults experience Mental health problems, 1 in 5 mothers suffer with mental health difficulties in the perinatal period and 1 in 10 young people have a diagnosable mental health condition.

“Mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, so there has never been a more important time to shine a light on mental health and shift from a culture of illness to one of wellness. Working as a whole system to support the whole person and the whole family in their health and wellbeing and building a resilient community is crucial.”

The event took place at the Bluecoat Arts Centre and was hosted by the Improving Me Women’s and Children’s Services Partnership – a collaboration of 27 NHS organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside aiming to improve the experiences of women and children.

Catherine McClennan, Programme Director for Improving Me, said: “We’ve listened to the experiences of many local women who have felt emotionally isolated during their pregnancy journey. This event was a call to action for everyone in our communities. Together, we’ve committed to working as one to provide truly person-centred mental health care for all mums and families.”

In addition to encouraging closer working between providers of mental health and maternity services, the event prompted clinicians to forge stronger relationships with community assets such as libraries, arts centres and universities.

Dr Sandeep continued: The Female Mind event aimed to showcase these benefits in the heart of Liverpool’s creative community, connecting the system from prevention to prescription.”

The night was concluded by a powerful story from local mum Danielle Gillett, who described her difficulties finding the right emotional support network during her pregnancy journey.

Danielle said: “'Events like these for me are a great way of showcasing how professionals are really making a difference within mental health and maternity care. My story is not to share a bad time, but to show professionals how just a small act from them during our care can go a long way.”