THE National Lottery Community Fund has awarded the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) £1.2million to help ensure every mother in the UK has equal access to gold-standard care and support during pregnancy and the postnatal period.
Founded in 2011, the MMHA is a coalition of 97 national organisations bringing together health care professionals, the third sector, and women with lived experience to improve perinatal mental health care in the UK. The MMHA has successfully campaigned to close many of the gaps in specialist care and support. However, despite celebrating significant progress over the past decade, more work is needed to ensure that ALL women receive the mental health care they need at all stages of pregnancy and the postnatal period.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, means the MMHA can maintain its focus on turning the specialist services map green across the whole of the UK. This is an essential foundation for ensuring equal access for all women affected by perinatal mental illness.
In addition, thanks to National Lottery players, the Alliance will set out a new programme of work. This will look beyond specialist services to ensure that other essential parts of maternal mental health care and support are available to all women in every part of the country. Care that meets the highest quality standards is still not available to many women who need it.
The first six months of funding will focus on developing the goals of this exciting new phase of the Everyone’s Business campaign, before a major launch next spring. As always, the MMHA will seek to establish the collective actions – across its membership and beyond – that will make the biggest difference to the mental wellbeing of women and their families.
Emily Slater, CEO of the MMHA, said:
“Over the past decade, MMHA members, supporters and lived experience champions have worked together to raise awareness of maternal mental illness, demonstrate the importance of specialist services, and share the positive impact they have on mothers’ lives. Now, thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, we are delighted to be able to take this work to the next level and excited about what lies ahead.”
Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“We’re delighted to award this funding to support the incredible work of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which is actively putting people in the lead and drawing on lived experience to make perinatal mental health everyone’s business. Thanks to National Lottery players, women in every part of the country will have a better chance of accessing vital mental health support during and after their pregnancy, which will help them and their families to thrive.”
Lindsay Robinson, mum, expert by experience, and campaigner from Northern Ireland said:
“By campaigning alongside other MMHA members and parents with lived experience, we make sure the needs of mums and families affected by perinatal mental illness are heard. Thanks to this collaborative approach, funding for specialist services has finally been promised by the Department of Health, and the outlook is far brighter here in Northern Ireland. Together, we will continue to push for a Mother and Baby Unit and further change across the pathway of care, so every mum can get the help she needs and deserves! My family and I understand first-hand what a difference the right support can make.”
By working together, and speaking with one voice, the MMHA aims to improve the lives of ALL women and families affected by perinatal mental illness and affect lasting change.