APP cooperation with NCT

Not too long ago someone was asking if people thought contacting NCT would be a good idea. So i asked my NCT teacher if she had started covering PPP since learning about my episode 2 years ago

Neither my partner nor I had heard of PPP before I got it. Whilst it happens to only 1-2 in 1000 women who give birth, i think it is vital that NCT at least mention it and point out the symptoms to be aware of even if it is scary for expectant parents. I told my NCT teacher I would like to push this at NCT country level and asked for her advice on how to best go about and whom to contact.

She didn't know whom to contact unfortunately. She replied that she teaches about PND as a whole and in the past taught PP to groups and the feedback "has been that it has been terrifying to expectant parents" so she tried covering the topic "in other ways"(not sure what she meant by that!), but after hearing about my experience she has been conscious to mention it in classes. She agrees it is so important to make expectant parents aware of the symptoms but said "it's finding the balance".

I would really like to know if APP as an organisation has approached NCT at head office to discuss ways NCT teachers should go about including PPP and maybe influence the curriculum or provide any "teach the teacher" courses. A structured approach would be more beneficial than individuals just contacting NCT randomly I think.

If anyone as an individual has tried to engage with NCT please also let me know! I am thinking maybe of asking my psychiatrist who is Chair of the Perinatal Faculty of the Royal College Psychiatrists to see if they have communicated anything to NCT,as I believe they have formulated advice for GPs which could be used for NCT teachers as well maybe.

Many thanks,

Benedicte

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  • Hi Benedicte

    Thanks so much for this post. I attended NCT classes too and have no memory at all of PP being covered, we definitely didn't discuss it in any depth. To be honest, I can hardly remember anything about PND even. At APP we definitely are passionate about all prospective mum's being made aware of the early symptoms, and of it being talked about openly as we really believe this can mean that mum's get support much quicker because they seek help quicker because they know what it possibly is. We also believe that it could even save lives because of this. Also it hopefully lessens the shock of it a bit, if families have already heard of it. Like you I had never heard of PP before I was ill, it was such a shock and I couldn't understand what was happening to me.

    I wanted to let you know about APP's contact with NCT. NCT are a part of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which APP are also a part of, and play quite a big role in (we host their 'Everyone's Business' campaign) - and so we attend regular MMHA meetings with NCT, along with many other perinatal mental health charities / organisations. We have disseminated APP info, including Early Symptoms to NCT, and their training of new NCT teachers does include information on PP. We have a contact in their head office. It would be really good though, if you wanted to, to write about your experience of contact with NCT, and how you feel about the classes you had, and the fact PP wasn't covered, and also the response from the NCT teacher when you fed back to her - no pressure though. We could then feed this back to our contact in NCT as feedback from this forum. If you would like you can private message on health unlocked about it, or write to our main email: app@app-network.org

    It's so good that you have contacted them and spoken direct to your NCT teacher. I also wondered, just from the above, whether you were interested in volunteering as a regional rep with APP. 'Regional reps' are women who have experienced PP who try and make contact with professionals and any interested parties in their area (whatever they can do, with the time they have) to raise awareness of PP and also make professionals aware of the resources and information APP have to support women with PP. Again, no pressure though, I just wondered if this was something you might be interested in doing, as you have already made the contact with NCT.

    PP is about as common as down syndrome, and as we know this is talked about so openly with mum's. Why isn't PP?

    Thanks so much Benedicte, this is so important.

    Ellie

  • Hi Ellie,

    I mentioned about contacting the NCT. But I agree it would be a more powerful message if it came from the APP rather than isolated individuals. I will try to write an email with my experience and forward to you. Although 7 months post PP I think this will be difficult for me and I worry about my info staying private.

    Big thanks

    Gorilla mumma

  • Hi GorillaMumma thanks so much. No pressure at all about feeding back something if it feels too difficult. Also if you want to write it v generally (e.g. not giving detail where you live / what class you attended etc) so your more private info is kept private - we would keep all feedback anonymous if that is what anyone wanted. Really no pressure.

    Ellie X

  • belated thanks for your message, Ellie! i would be interested in becoming a volunteer and will follow up by email.

  • That's great Benedicte, look forward to hearing from you via email X

  • Hi there. When I did Nct with my first son nearly 7 years ago we were given a pack of info. And I recall the last page was on PP. I may have read it at the time. But didn't connect the dots when I got PP myself as my symptoms were vague as then came on massively by which time I was fully delusional and I was sectioned so it was too late. Anyhow it was never discussed in the course. (Not a big fan of NCT generally though as they are too obsessed with natural birth and breastfeeding and don't prepare you fully for the reality of birth and having a new baby- but that's off topic!!). Not sure if it was mentioned there it would have made a difference to my outcome. But yes prob would with some mothers. Good luck!

  • We did our anti natal classes through a local company that do classes for the NHS, although we paid private to do them nearer home. They defiantly didn't mention pp & I contacted them after I had pp last year. There response for not covering is that "they don't want to scare new parents!". I personally think this is an excuse as they discuss subjects such as cot death which is also a scary thing to know about.

    Hopefully with the help of APP and if we all keep talking to others we can continue to raise awareness. X

  • This is a really good question/ topic. As with everything in perinatal mental health, I think that things have got better over the years (I was ill after my son was born in 2009) - but there is still some way to go. As Ellie has said, APP already has some links with NCT and this is something that we can perhaps look to develop further. The personal experiences of PP Mums are so powerful though and if anyone is interested in this area, by being a volunteer Regional Rep, please feel free to get in touch via messaging on here to myself or Ellie, or email: app@app-network.org

    To share my experience, since I have been involved with APP I have met many health professionals who have really welcomed hearing about what happened when I was ill, also when I had my 2nd child and found it difficult to access services (& stayed well) but more than anything, what PP is - and that recovery is possible, is such a powerful message to raise awareness of both the illness and APP as an organisation.

    I also wrote an article for my local NCT branch newsletter and tied it into the Maternal Mental Health Alliance's Everyone's Business campaign. I got some really positive comments from local mums who saw it and had no idea that it had been something I'd had after my eldest was born. But I am also not really an NCT person, in that I didn't attend antenatal classes and only linked in with them after my 2nd child was born, going to a local coffee morning with a neighbour who had a baby a similar age. It does make me sad to think that a response can be that they "don't want to scare people" - I had never been mentally unwell before I had PP, I'd never heard of it and no-one I knew had either. The number of times that Downs Syndrome is mentioned, especially if you are over a certain age, it does flummox me!

    It's important to remember that you only do what you feel comfortable with. PP is a hard time for women and families and I completely understand that some will not want to revisit difficult memories. Thanks for the suggestion and please keep in touch if you would like to be involved more. Take care all, xx

  • It's really good to hear several people's experience of NCT classes and PP on here. It is something we can definitely feedback in a very general way. As I said, I think PP is included in the training of all new trainers, and our information is out there for the trainers, but it sounds like individual trainers still seem reluctant to include it.

    Thanks all, such an important topic. We are really passionate about ensuring all women do know the early symptoms and risks of PP - and the fact it can happen to anyone with no mental health diagnosis.

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