Local mum shares her experience of postnatal depression

Lisa Hammond, a mum from Leeds, is backing this year’s Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week (29 April – 5 May) by sharing her experience of postnatal depression, as part of her role as a pregnancy and postnatal mental health ambassador for the local NHS.

Around one in four women experience mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 24 months after giving birth*. This year’s theme for the awareness week is Mums Matter from the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

Lisa (pictured left), who is a mum of two, suffered with postnatal depression for over two years which then developed into postpartum psychosis.

Lisa, said; “I’m proud to be backing this year’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and to be able to share my experience.

“I had my son eight years ago and I really struggled with my feelings. I was constantly feeling tired, had constant headaches and had the feeling of guilt which I couldn’t explain. I made several trips to see my GP and I was being told that this was normal for a new mum, after two years I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis.

“I was put on medication and was under the care of a psychiatrist at the Mount (part of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), where I attended support groups and was given counselling through IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies). At that point I was pregnant with my daughter, just as my son turned four. The treatment at the Mount was good and felt like I was on the road to recovery. However, six years on I’m still on medication and I have my good and bad days. I’ve made the decision to continue with my medication, although I’m coming to a point where I feel like I will want to come off the medication, once I’ve had the conversation with my GP.

“A lot has changed over the past few years, there’s a lot more focus on maternal mental health and it’s a key priority for the NHS. In Leeds, I feel we’re quite lucky because a lot of work has been undertaken around maternal mental health and the support available to mums and their partners.

“I’m really passionate about maternal mental health and I’m keen to raise awareness, which is why I took up the opportunity of becoming a pregnancy and postnatal mental health ambassador. There’s me and two other ambassadors who are working alongside the NHS and voluntary organisations, to raise awareness of what support is available to mums and their partners for maternal mental health. During the awareness week we will be publishing blogs and stories from local people sharing their experience of maternal mental health on our website called NEST (Nurturing, Enabling, Sharing, Transforming) www.nestleeds.co.uk. A lot of the information will link back to the MindWell website which has a wealth of information for pregnant women and parent-to-be in Leeds”.

Dr Jane Mischenko, Lead Commissioner for Children and Maternity at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The awareness week is a great way of making mums and their partners find out about the support available to them in Leeds. Also sharing stories, like Lisa’s, is such a powerful way to encourage other women to talk to someone if they’re experiencing similar problems, whether it’s to a healthcare professional or someone they are close to”.

“In Leeds, over the last few years we’ve worked really hard to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals around maternal mental health. We’ve delivered training to midwives, health visitors and our GP practices. We have a clear pathway of support and mums and their partners can access online resources as well as information of where to go for support on the MindWell website (www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/baby). They just need to type in ‘I’m pregnant or a new parent’. We are especially pleased to have created the new role of pregnancy and postnatal mental health ambassadors who will really help shape our work and push out key messages around maternal mental health and support available in Leeds”.

For further information on maternal mental health and what support is available for mums and their partners in Leeds, visit the MindWell website www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/baby

Cast study

Lisa Hammond from Leeds

Lisa, 37, has shared her story with local and national media, this includes Woman’s Magazine, BBC Radio and is now a regular guest expert on the Stephanie Hirst show on BBC Radio Leeds. Lisa has also written a e-book titled ‘Make up & Break downs’ sharing her story of early motherhood.

After working in public health for over 15 years, Lisa is now a professional make-up artist specialising in weddings and branding photography shoots.

To interview Lisa, please contact the communications team at NHS Leeds CCG by calling 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470 you can also email the team at leedsccg.comms@nhs.net

Notes to editors

Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week (29 April – 5 May)

The awareness week is organised by Maternal Mental Health Alliance https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/

They have a number of activities planned for the entire week, which can be viewed on the following link https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/news/uk-maternal-mental-health-matters-awareness-week-2019/

Get involved in the awareness week on social media by using the following hashtag #maternalmhmatters

MIndWell

The MindWell website is the ‘go to’ place for mental health information in Leeds. It can help if you’re looking for information for yourself, concerned about someone else or if you’re a professional supporting others.

The website (www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/) also has information for pregnant women and new parents, and where to go for support https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/myself/feeling-unwell/i-am-pregnant-or-a-new-parent

NEST (Nurturing, Enabling, Sharing, Transforming)

Keep up-to-date with the pregnancy and postnatal mental health ambassadors on their social media platforms:

Twitter: @NESTLeeds

Facebook: NESTLeeds

Instagram: nestleeds

You Tube: NESTLeeds

View their latest blogs and stories by visiting www.nestleeds.co.uk

Postpartum psychosis

For further information about postpartum psychosis, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-partum-psychosis/ 

NHS Long Term Plan

*Around one in four women experience mental health problems in pregnancy and during the 24 months after giving birth – this information was taken from the NHS Long Term Plan https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

For media enquiries please contact:

Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCG. You can contact the team on 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470. Alternatively please email us: leedsccg.comms@nhs.net