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Perinatal awareness training for staff

18 May 2016

The importance of awareness of the mental health in mums who are just about to give birth or just have given birth is being discussed by experts at a workshop for healthcare staff later this week (19 and 20 May 2016) as the department hosts an awareness day about the subject for the first time.

The Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Day, which is being held during Mental Health Awareness Week, is being repeated over two days so that as many healthcare staff as possible can attend and will be hosted by expert speakers Elaine Hanzak and Mike Coote.

Improving perinatal health is an essential part of the government commitment to 1,001 Critical Days.
Elaine is a mum who has experienced peri-natal depression herself in the form of puerperal psychosis (the most severe form of postnatal depression) and has published a book about her experiences. Elaine has spent 11 years speaking, writing, learning and sharing knowledge with many audiences and will tell her story at the awareness days in Jersey.

Elaine said "I am delighted to be visiting the island and hope that we are able to inform and inspire people to make a positive difference to all the young families in their care."

Knowledge and awareness

It is hoped that by attending one of the awareness days, healthcare staff will have an increased knowledge and awareness of perinatal mental health and how it can affect families and have a deeper understanding of how mental health may deteriorate and the signs and symptoms to look out for – including the mother, partner and infant.

Julie Mycock, head of midwifery at Health and Social Services, said "The arrival of a new baby should be a joyous and exciting time for a woman, her partner and their family, but sometimes, serious mental health issues arise, and these need to be recognised and addressed. Obviously our staff in the Maternity Unit, our community midwives and health visitors have a key role to play in that. We hope that this session will help raise awareness about perinatal mental health, and how, with the right ongoing support, it can be overcome."

Myths and stigma

Delegates who attend will also have the opportunity to question how healthcare workers can tackle the myths and stigma which can surround perinatal depression, and be updated on the current UK position regarding perinatal mental health.

Literature about Jersey’s Adult Mental Health Services (JAMHS) and Perinatal Mental Health Service brochures will be available at the workshops. The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse Specialist, Liz Auld, will also be available to answer any questions regarding the local service.

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