One or two in every thousand new mums develop Postpartum Psychosis (PP) in the days after childbirth. Hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression and odd and erratic behaviour develop suddenly. PP often happens "out of the blue" to women with no previous mental health problems. Every year, 1,400 women and their families struggle with this devastating postnatal mental illness at a much-anticipated time in their lives, when a new born baby has just changed everything.
Sadly, ignorance about PP is still widespread and many women face stigma, isolation, and a lifetime burden of guilt. PP is different from Postnatal Depression and much rarer. This means sufferers are unlikely to meet another woman who has experienced PP. A shortage of Mother and Baby Units means that new mums may be separated from their babies when placed in General Adult Psychiatric Wards. Suicide is a leading cause of death among new mothers, with PP responsible for the highest percentage of these. Each year, families are bereaved, when the reality is, PP is a very treatable illness and full recovery is possible.
Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) is a collaboration between women and families who have experienced PP, leading academic researchers and expert health professionals.
- We provide peer support and specialist information to affected women and families.
- We raise awareness and challenge stigma.
- We train health professionals and campaign for improved services.
- We conduct research to better understand the illness.
Our goal is for all new mothers and families affected by PP to receive best-practice care and caring support through to full recovery.
APP’s Peer Support Service has become a lifeline for women and families affected by PP. Every day it connects women and families affected by PP with others who’ve been there. It helps them feel less alone. Our Peer Support Volunteers support others with compassion and understanding on the long road to recovery. They direct them to information about the best treatment and care. They offer reassurance and hope, reduce isolation and improve understanding. They can offer support when recovered women are thinking about a second pregnancy. They can help heal the scars left by PP many years down the road, for women, their partners and other family members.
With your help, we can:
- keep supporting women and families in distress; and
- continue to transform understanding of this frightening, yet treatable, mental illness.