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Sharing my PMH journey with the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities

20th July 2018

A guest blog by Jane Fisher, a mother with lived experience of perinatal mental illness, who shared the importance of her relationship with her health visitor as part of her recovery at the recent meeting with the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price MP.

 

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Mental Health!  I had her undivided attention for 30 minutes as I shared my journey through perinatal mental illness and recovery.  This was such a privilege and an honour.  She was meeting with health visitors from across the country to discuss health visiting services and good practice.

My health visitor was absolutely crucial to my care and recovery.  I told Jackie Doyle-Price that when I reached out to him for help I was not contacting a stranger.  I was contacting a professional who had built a therapeutic relationship with my family and whom we trusted.  He focused on my strengths and ensured I got the right help I needed for my mental health problems.  He also stayed with us on my journey to recovery, providing the listening ear, emotional support and practical referrals.  I told her that he was the only professional who supported my husband.

I also told her about hope, and how important it is for professionals to give mums hope.  Whenever I tell my story I always talk about the importance of hope in mental health recovery.  When people are unwell they need hope.  I needed to hear that I would get better.  I needed professionals to tell me I had an illness, but that it was treatable and there was always hope.

Before my journey began we named our daughter, Bella Hope.  Her name combines beauty and hope. And that’s what got me and my family through the terrifying, confusing and distressing experience of perinatal mental illness.

I hope Jackie will remember my story, and remember that we need health visitors who have time, resources, and are empowered to support mums and the whole family.

Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price meeting iHV PIMH Champions in Manchester to mark #NHS70