Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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MBU's Are there plans for more?

MBU's Are there plans for more?

I had PPP in 1990 after the birth of my son. I was lucky to have had a MBU on my doorstep in Winwick Hospital, near Warrington, Cheshire. The site where Winwick Hospital once stood is now a housing estate. I think the nearest MBU is in Manchester. I cannot imagine what it is like for women with PPP to have to go to a hospital many miles from their home and family, who they need for support through this terrible illness.

I was left with Bi-Polar Disorder after the PPP, which is managed through medication prescribed by my G.P. Who was fantastic at explaining the illness to me, as I thought I had brought it upon myself. I am 66 now and retired, enjoying life, going walking with my husband and our beautiful Chocolate Labrador, Benny.

My thoughts go out to all who suffer from PPP and Bi-Polar Disorder.

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I had ppp last year and ended up in a mbu 2.5 hours away in Morpeth. The unit was lovely but home leave and discharge were difficult. When I had my daughter in 2004 I was 10 mins from home but it was a mum and baby room off a mixed psychiatric ward. It was good being close but they didn't know what to do with me as the room was rarely used and my daughter was not allowed to leave it due to other patients, not even to get fresh air. Her crying must have upset the other patients too. I just wish Morpeth had been closer to home. Xx

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Let's hope there is funding for more MBU's round the country in the future, we definitely need them.

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Hi there, lovely to hear from you & to see a picture of the handsome Benny. I agree with you about MBU’s. I’m 61 and had my episode of PP following the birth of my first child in 1982. I was sectioned and spent approximately 10 weeks in the psychiatric ward of my local general hospital. Fortunately, I was able to take my daughter with me. Such an awful experience trying to cope with the dulling effects of the medication and being a new Mum and the depression which followed.

Apart from one outpatient visit, a wonderful Health Visitor & a supportive husband there was no other support network. As well as the overwhelming loss of confidence in myself, I was left with such guilt, shame and embarrassment and subsequently buried my feelings and got on with my life.

I discovered this wonderful site by chance a couple of years ago which enabled me learn more about the condition, and finally share my experience and come to terms with it thanks to the incredible, supportive feedback received. My very best wishes to you all. Veexx

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We have been through the mill, haven't we Vee82. PPP is such a devastating illness. Thank goodness for the internet and being able to pour out our thoughts on this extremely informative site and its caring volunteers and workers.

Let us hope that any woman who gets this awful illness in the future receives all the help from the NHS she needs, and families are supported.

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Hi Silverlining,

I wa delighted to hear recently that there is funding for a new MBU very close to where I live in Lancashire which will service Lancashire and South Cumbria.

When I suffered PPP in 1997, the nearest one was an hours drive each way to Withington, Manchester which made visiting and home visits very challenging.

My health visitor made a special trip over with a colleague to visit. Neither of them had visited the MBU before!

I’m sure there are still other areas, including South Wales, sadly lacking access to an MBU so let’s hope that improves too.

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Hello Silverlining,

thank you for giving us an inside about your experience. The more women share their experience the more we are able to reduce stigma for mums with mental health issues.

Yes, there are further developments for MBU places. Some money has been released by the government to fill some of those tremendous gaps in perinatal mental health care, but especially PPP sufferers.

I know of two projects, one in Plymouth and the other in Exeter. I am a participant of a Stakeholder group contributing and working towards something, which hopefully will lead to a "humanistic care path way for PPP sufferers" and their families and the MBU experience and recovery will be of a different kind than the women who were in a "horrific place" with inappropriate care. I am a survivor, too and was in a psychiatric mixed gender unit in 2010.

...changes are happening...facilities and thought processes for kinder care is happening right now and deep down I know there is reassurance that what happened to a lot of women in the past, should not have happened and never will happen again. I am hopeful. People who have struggled have to have a voice, too!!!

Look after yourself and I am pleased you are managing your Bi-Polar well.

x

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Thank you Jasa for your reply. My care by professionals during and after PPP was good but one G.P. didn't recognise the symptoms which delayed diagnosis slightly. I am sure the close proximity of the MBU was a factor in my recovery.

My husband knew something was wrong, the symptoms must have been terrifying for him to experience and not know what was happening to me. He ended getting the G.P. out at 2.30am one morning, she knew it was PPP and by the afternoon I was in hospital, albeit after a run around involving the Psychiatrist, G.P., Social Worker and 2 Paramedics, a black velvet evening dress and me wanting to throw a party. (I don't know how I got into that dress straight after having a baby) I remember asking the Psychiatrist to zip the back up for me though.

Is there user friendly information for partners and relatives to explain the symptoms and what to do to help?

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This sounds familiar Silverlinings and I’m Very impressed with the black velvet dress! 😊

In my Supermum, sleep deprived, hypomanic state I also to decided to throw a dinner party a few days after birth. Only my guests included a friend, a Dr, working in the psychiatric ward at the time and his wife, a midwife! In many ways I guess I was lucky that they picked up on my manic state and were able to discuss with my husband, who like your husband, knew something was wrong. A domicillary or Home visit by the Consultant Psychiatrist was arranged for the next day, I remember being very rude to him, which is not in my nature. Very much against my will, I was soon admitted & so the nightmare began. The rest is history!

I guess as harrowing as the experience of PP is, we do survive and go on to lead fulfilling lives. I was fortunate in having no other mental health issues but my son has recently been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

Take care, Veexx

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I am so sorry to hear about your son, I hope he gets the same kind of care I received after developing Bi-Polar.

x

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Hi silverlining18, just to pick up on your question about user friendly information, APP produces some "Insider Guides" including one for partners (which could also be for other family members too). It talks about PP and recovery and has some useful tips, developed with the input of those who have been through the illness and their family members. The other Guides are around Recovery and Planning Pregnancy for those at risk and the link is here: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

They are electronic (PDF files) but hard copies can also be provided, free of charge in small quantities, if you email app@app-network.org

Hope this helps :)

Take care, thanks for sharing your experience here, xx

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Hi silverlining18 and others writing here,

As Mrs Jelly has mentioned, there are some new MBUs coming, one for Lancs & South Cumbria and the others being in Norfolk, Kent and the SW (Exeter I believe). The NHS has announced them on the link here: england.nhs.uk/2017/09/nhs-...

The aim is to cover the most obvious gaps geographically, as I understand it, but as was also mentioned there is still no MBU provision in Wales or Northern Ireland. APP has been involved in a recent report to the National Assembly in Wales, and the following recommendation is highlighted:

· The Committee find that general adult psychiatric wards are not sufficiently specialist to care for mothers during the perinatal period, and the separation of mother & baby for psychiatric treatment should not be tolerated in a modern health care service. They recommend the establishment of a specialist Mother & Baby Unit (MBU) on the M4 corridor, and a second Welsh MBU in north east Wales, shared with NHS trusts over the border in England.

You can read the full report and recommendations here, together with a short news piece from the APP website about the charity's involvement in giving evidence to the inquiry, including hearing the voices of those with lived experience:

assembly.wales/laid%20docum...

app-network.org/news-events...

Inevitably some people will still have to travel, depending on where they live. I know when I had PP in 2009, I was lucky to be in an MBU for part of my treatment, which although 30 miles away was near family and friends. Sadly that unit has now closed and I would have to travel further now (although I am not planning on having any further children and did have a 2nd child in 2013 and was lucky to stay well).

The other part of recent funding announcements is for specialist community teams, and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) has the Everyone's Business campaign, key to which is "turning the map green" so that women, wherever they live, have access to a specialist team. The following link has a map showing the current provision - still way too much red in too many areas, including where I live. The dots show the areas who have recently been awarded funding for community perinatal services, but not all areas are up and running yet, so the next map should be turning more green...

everyonesbusiness.org.uk/?p...

So I think things are changing, and the move to more MBU and other specialist provision, is getting there. There are lots of organisations and people campaigning, including APP, to ensure that all women have adequate support and access to specialist provision, wherever they may live. We all realise that the NHS is under increasing strain, but perinatal mental health is now firmly on the agenda and as a priority for many. Thanks also in part to our Peer Support network, the voices of women are being heard, and thankyou to you all for sharing on here too. Take care, xx

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