From being discharged from the local mental health ward 4 years ago from one day to the next day attending the 2016 International Marce Society Conference Frontiers in Perinatal Mental Health I was looking forward to connecting with others and learning more over in Melbourne.

It was an epic 3 days filled with plenary talks, symposiums and workshops of scientific and clinical knowledge on perinatal mental health. Absolutely loved my first Marcè conference connecting and working together to make a difference to reduce the impact, and to increase the awareness, treatment and prevention of maternal mental health.

Particularly loved connecting with consumer organisations Terri from PANDA, Viv from Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness, Jane from Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Action Institute, Prof Ian Jones from Bipolar Disorder Research Network and Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), Emily & Alain from Maternal Mental Health Alliance UK, Vijay Roach and Catherine Knox from Gidget Foundation, and Kellie from Mindfulness 4Mothers.

The highlight for me was meeting and chatting with other mothers Deborah and Brenda who share a lived experience of postpartum psychosis. Another highlight was dining with the international researcher Professor Ian Jones who focuses on research in bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis discussing my experiences. My vision is to create an Australian network for Postpartum Psychosis to support families with a lived experience of PP and to create awareness in our community about PP.

GAMMH

On Day 1 the Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (GAMMH) was launched by Dr Alain Gregoire uniting to improve the lives of mothers and their infants everywhere. If this were physical health it would be a national scandal, yet we allow it to carry on. It is critical to establish perinatal mental health as a global priority. We need to demand action, we have evidence of the individual and population needs and we know enough to do something everywhere. We need to broaden our approach, not just health care centred. GAMMH needs you. Aspire. Inspire. Locally, nationally, globally. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

How to influence national policy and service provision: the experience of the UK MMHA and Everyone’s Business Campaign – Promoting awareness and service development in perinatal mental health – Dr Alain Gregoire and Emily Slater, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

It’s time to ACT! National accountability, engage community, training for health professionals. Australia it’s time to ACT, to follow the UK’s example and create an Australian Maternal Mental Health Alliance to bring together a diverse range of organisations to create a broad vision with a clear pathway to improve awareness and take responsibility.

At the end of this workshop we wrote down something we will do to initiate change. I wrote to create an Australian network for Postpartum Psychosis supporting mothers and their families and creating awareness in our community. Now is the time to ACT!

I was excited to learn that Louis-Victor Marce, the psychiatrist which the Marce Society was named after, published the first treatise entirely devoted to puerperal psychosis, illness and insanity in pregnancy in 1858. Postpartum psychosis is rare but not a new maternal mental health disorder.

World Maternal Mental Health Day – Dr Angela Bown and Dr Alfonso Gil-Sanchez, International Marcè Society Conference 2016.

Save the date! Wednesday May 3, 2017 is the next World Maternal Mental Health Day. The 2016 theme was #maternalMHmatters. What can you do to create awareness and support for maternal mental health? Check out wmmhday.postpartum.net for more details. The theme for 2017 has yet to be announced so stay tuned…

This conference was inspiring and motivating, I was filled with ideas and wanting to take action! So many aha moments which I will share!