Successful Perinatal Mental Health Conference held by RCM Haywards Heath and Brighton Branch

By Nick Child, Senior Organiser (Networks) on 12 February 2018

Learning reps from Haywards Heath and Brighton RCM Branch held a Perinatal Mental Health Conference on 5th February 2018, bringing together midwives, student midwives, MSWs and other health professionals from across the region.

Our Learning Reps; Laura McLaren, Penny Gillis and Rachael Bannister have only recently been elected into their roles, but with a lot of hard work and commitment, and with backing from the local RCM Branch and Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust, they pulled off an incredibly successful event with over 90 delegates attending.

The local branch has recently become more active and this event is testament to how branches can support and promote local professional development opportunities for members.

"Our aim for the conference is that it will help midwives to feel more confident in recognising mental health issues and then feel more equipped to have these conversations with women, because that really is the first step in removing stigma and promoting wellbeing," said Laura.

The programme covered information on the local Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service run by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, and also featured the personal accounts of women, a number of specialist midwives, health visitors and psychotherapists.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with 61% rating it as excellent and 33% rating it as very good. Apart from the broad variety of speakers, attendees also felt that there were plenty of practical points that they could take forward to inform their practice.

In addition, the Branch raised over £300 for charity PANDA's (Pre and Post Natal Depression Advice and Support Charity) to help set up a much needed peer-to-peer support group for women experiencing mild to moderate pre and post-natal depression in the Brighton and Hove area.

Visit PANDA's Foundation site for more details.