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News and Presentations for todays Improving Perinatal Mental Health Crisis Services: Reducing Maternal Suicide

Elaine HanzakElaine Hanzak

What it feels like to be in crisis and what helped me to keep on living: personal messages to inspire others
Elaine Hanzak
, Author, advocate and speaker on perinatal mental health with lived experience
Elaine is a professional speaker, chair, workshop leader and author on perinatal mental health, initially through lived experience and subsequently through gained knowledge.
Her first book, ‘Eyes without sparkle – a journey through postnatal illness’ (2005, CRC Press) describes the story of her spiral into and out of postnatal depression and psychosis following the birth of her son. Originally a teacher for children with severe learning difficulties, she resigned to dedicate herself to the field of perinatal mental health. Since then she has appeared widely on television, radio and in the media and has been working tirelessly to improve awareness and resources for perinatal mental illness for all the family.
Her second book, ‘Another Twinkle in the Eye – contemplating another pregnancy after perinatal mental illness’ (CRC Press, 2015) was shortlisted for the BMA Popular Medicine Book of the Year 2016 for outstanding contribution to medical literature. This is a guide for parents who are considering another baby after a previous perinatal mental illness and ideas for how healthcare professionals can support them. Testimonials report that her first book continues to save lives and the second is helping to create new lives. She was runner-up in the final of the British Journal of Midwifery Award for ‘Contribution by a non-midwife to midwifery practice’ and nominated as Cheshire Woman of the Year in 2016.
Elaine, speaking this morning said:
"I had realised that I had post-natal depression so it was a relief when someone else said to me that they thought I had it.  Can give you a feeling of loneliness, I pushed help away
In my head every other person with babies were coping.  Why me when I am so organised?
7 months post-natally my brain had lost the ability to relax
Even the smallest of decisions are too much for you.  You told to be told what to do for a brief period during your recovery
Instant separation from your child makes your mental health & that of your child so much worse
ECT helped me.  The main thing was that it taught me how to relax and ultimately sleep again
Depression & bereavement are closely linked, both about loss and your balloons of expectation being popped
When vulnerable the tiniest comment can affect you
My dishonesty hindered my recovery, ‘Oh I’m fine"

Elaine showed both her books (‘Eyes without Sparkle’ & ‘Another Twinkle in the Eye’), not to impress but to impress upon you that as an individual you can make a difference
Full PowerPoint Presentation


Perinatal Mental Health Crisis Identification, Crisis Prevention and Support
Dr Farida Bano
, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Lead in Gynaecology Clinical Governance
With Dr Neha Rawat Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
Pre Event Abstract
Perinatal mental health services (PNMH) are for the prevention, detection and management of perinatal mental health problems that complicate pregnancy and the postpartum year. The Perinatal mental health service in Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust provides a “one stop clinic” designed to offer an integrated and proactive mental health service to pregnant women. Providing early support and right care in the perinatal period will reduce the risk of relapse, prevent tragedy and separation of mother and baby can also be avoided.
Dr Neha Rawat is a Consultant Psychiatrist in NELFT Perinatal Parent Infant Mental Health Service and specialises in maternal mental disorder. She is a member of Perinatal Faculty of Royal College of Psychiatrist and Medical lead for Redbridge and Barking borough of the service. Her special interests include Complex trauma and impact of adverse early life events on mental health and future parenting and bridging the gap between mental health and physical health service.
Speaking at the conference this afternoon, Farida and Neha said:
"Our Perinatal Psychiatry MDT is an amalgamation of all of our skill.  Highlight what is needed and signpost them to the right service.
Our team caters for the needs of the person in front of them, that’s the crux of it
We have reduced antenatal admission rates by the early intervention of our clinic. 
The clinic is a ‘One Stop Service’
Where does mental health step in, where does safeguarding step out?"

​Full PowerPoint Presentation


Improving the response to Perinatal Crisis: Reducing Maternal Suicide
Dr Raja Gangophadhyay
, Consultant Obstetrician with a special interest in Perinatal Mental, Health West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Founder International Forum for Wellbeing in Pregnancy
Dr Raja Gangopadhyay is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, with a special interest in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH). He is a passionate campaigner to provide comprehensive obstetric care for women with all kinds of Perinatal Mental Health illnesses during their pregnancy and after the childbirth. In conjunction with his multidisciplinary team, Raja has been championing joint approaches to perinatal mental health that take into account infant mental health. Raja is a well-known Trainer in PMH and organises teaching, training and Conference for Obstetricians, Midwives, GP and other healthcare professionals. He is a renowned speaker and has been invited to speak at many National and International events Conferences/ Events/ Universities. He obtained a Certificate in Medical Education from the University of Bedfordshire, UK. He has been invited to House of Lords meeting as a member of the Expert panel and organised and chaired events at the House of Commons (UK Parliament). He has been invited to many media interviews (Radio/ Television) and views/ opinions have been quoted in many leading UK newspapers. He is the Founder of the International Forum for Wellbeing In Pregnancy (IFWIP): a unique initiative to raise awareness of mental wellbeing during pregnancy from a global perspective.
Raja said at the conference this afternoon:
"Most common problem in pregnancy is a Mental Health problem, we have to do something about this
For every mental health related death in pregnancy there will be a potential 500 others
It’s never too late to seek help at any stage of pregnancy
The pregnancy period is equally as important as post natal.  Need to address the problem early
It’s important to remember that this is a health condition, not a sign of weakness
Good to have awareness of mental health but must not forget our basics of patient healthcare, need to rule out other medical conditions prior to diagnosing a mental health condition
Care planning is absolutely vital with mental health problems, need the care plan as soon as possible"

​Full PowerPoint Presentation

Also of Interest

The Mental Health Act Review: Towards A Rights-Based Mental Health Act
Monday 13 May, London

Towards Zero Suicide: Preventing Suicide, Saving Lives
Thursday 11 July, Manchester

Improving the Assessment and Management of People Experiencing Mental Health Crisis in Emergency Care
Friday 12 July, London

29 March 2019


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