Luciana Berger was unanimously voted in as the new Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) at last week’s extraordinary members’ meeting. Luciana takes over the role as Chair from Dr Alain Gregoire on 1 October 2020.

Luciana Berger

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, commented:

“This is a fabulous appointment for the MMHA and excellent news for all mums and their babies, wherever they live in the UK. Dr Alain Gregoire’s are ‘very big boots to fill’ but we feel very confident that Luciana will do that, bringing her own slant to chairing the MMHA. Very many congratulations Luciana, we very much look forward to working with you to together improve mental health services across the UK for all mums and their families.”

Other MMHA senior role updates on 1 October

Dr Alain Gregoire takes on the new role as Honorary President of the MMHA when he steps down as Chair.

Also, on the 1 October, Emily Slater’s title will change from MMHA Director to CEO. This follows an independent review of MMHA’s management structure and reflects the Board’s expectations of the role as the MMHA has evolved in the last two years.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s iHV Perinatal & Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Conference will be held in collaboration with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA). Taking place on Tuesday 10 September in London, it will focus on the importance of good relationships in perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) care.

Melita Walker, Mental Health Lead, iHV said:

“In the spirit of relationships, we are delighted to be collaborating with the MMHA to deliver the annual iHV PIMH Conference; Relationships Matter! We have a fantastic programme and we look forward to welcoming delegates to think together about the importance of relationships at every level of PIMH care.”

Together, we will share, discuss and reflect on the latest evidence, research and lived experiences in the context of relationships being fundamental to good parental and infant mental health.

The conference programme is designed to be of value to practitioners working alongside families across the care pathway, those working specifically in mental health, commissioners, local authorities and parents.

Clare Dolman, Vice Chair of the MMHA commented:

“We are delighted to collaborate with iHV on their second annual PIMH conference and look forward to welcoming delegates, hearing from those with experience of PIMH care and discussing opportunities to improve relationships and access to specialist services.”

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the MMHA, will be discussing the importance of relationships in relation to policy, campaigning, practice and experience of PIMH care. There will also be a panel discussion with experts by experience hosted by MMHA’s Champion Network Manager, Maria Bavetta, about how good relationships with care providers can make a real difference to the lives of women and families.

*Early bird rates are available until 7th July 2019, after which standard rates will apply.*



The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to receive national recognition for its Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions Training Programme in the first ever perinatal mental health awards, organised by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM).

The iHV’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions Training Programme was highly commended in the Emma Cadywould Award for Perinatal Mental Health Education and Training 2017. The awards, which were announced on Wednesday 13 September at the first Annual UK Maternal Mental Health Alliance Conference at Imperial College, London, recognised best practice and achievement in the categories of perinatal mental health education and training, perinatal mental health awareness raising, peer support and transgenerational service.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“The Institute of Health Visiting is proud to receive this prestigious training award which was set up in the name of Emma Cadywould, who tragically lost her life whilst suffering severe postnatal depression.

“Our comprehensive, accredited training, which now reflects the national competencies for perinatal and infant mental health, has been developed over the past five years and consistently attracts wonderful evaluations.

“We have recently extended our training offers to be suitable for all professionals working with women with perinatal mental illness.  This has been in response to many requests for multi-professional training from the health, local authority and voluntary sectors. Our current Champions Training ensures that all practitioners working alongside women and their families perinatally are equipped to provide evidence-based and confident support – as of June 2017, we have created over 140 Multi-agency Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions, as well as almost 900 health visitor Infant and Perinatal Mental Health Champions whose originally training we know has been cascaded to upwards of 10,000 others.

“This award is a massive credit to the Institute’s team who have worked so hard to develop, refine, deliver and quality assure, and most recently to benchmark our training to the new national standards.”

The winners were presented with their awards by acclaimed author, journalist and psychotherapist Susie Orbach.

Find out more about the iHV’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions Training Programme

At the start of UK Maternal Mental Health (MMH) week (1-7 May), the iHV is delighted to announce that we are working with Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP), a national charity supporting women and families affected by Postpartum Psychosis (PP).

In order to ensure that future mental health care of women is what women want/need, we ensure that the APP voice is central to our training. Women, who are experts by experience from APP, deliver on the iHV Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) programmes so all the health and social care professionals we train understand what they need to do to best support women and their families.

The death of Alice Gibson-Watt has lessons for us all and, as part of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, both the iHV and APP are committed to improving outcomes for women and their families. Key to this is learning from experts by experience and their families. The iHV was delighted to hear Hannah Bisset (APP Northern Regional Representative) raising parity of esteem for mental health through sharing her story on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday. Listen to her from minute 32.45 here.

Women with mental health problems during and after pregnancy reveal the impact of low rates of specialist referral, long waits, as well as lack of consensus over medication and little support for their partners, in a survey published today (22 February) by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and supported by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA).

The survey of over 2,300 women who had given birth in the last five years in the UK, explores their experiences of perinatal mental health problems, engagement with healthcare professionals and the quality of care they received.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director, iHV, said:

“The Institute of Health Visiting, a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, welcomes the results of the ‘Women’s Voices’ survey run by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and launched today.

“This survey gives real life evidence on the level of support that women receive when suffering from perinatal mental illness (PMI) – and the variation there is in the level of services across the country.  Health visitors are key healthcare professionals who are well-placed to identify and offer support to women suffering with PMI.  However, our own surveys have shown that, although parents will turn to their health visitor for support,  there is often insufficient time for the health visitor to offer the level of support required.

“We, at the iHV, deliver perinatal mental health (PMH) and infant mental health training to ensure standardised practice for health visitor professionals and the families they work with.  Our PMH training has now been delivered to well over 10,000 health visitors and others across England. However, for this training to have the impact it should, more health visitors need the time to use what they have learnt to improve services, especially at the recommended contacts.

“Perinatal mental health is an incredibly important area of healthcare which can have a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of babies and families and ultimately on our society when we don’t recognise it early. Health visitors have always made a huge contribution to supporting pre-school children and their families and are the best-placed professional to help give all children the best start in life during the early years of life.”

The iHV supports the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s (MMHA’s) response to yesterday’s publication of the Department of Health report ‘Safer Maternity Care: Next steps towards the national maternity ambition’.

MMHA highlights the mention of perinatal mental health in the report (on page 17) – but would really like to push for mums’ mental health to be embedded across all of the actions coming out of the report. Maternity safety is not just physical health: unless women’s mental health is looked after, their and their babies’ lives could also be at risk.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director iHV said:

“iHV supports the push by MMHA to keep maternal mental health at the forefront of the government’s drive to improve maternity care.  We welcome the implementation of this plan, including maternal mental health, and call on the government to ensure that specialist mental health support is available in every maternity /health visiting service to provide support to every mother and her family who require this service.”

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, commented:

“We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State of a Safer Maternity Care action plan and the inclusion of improvements in perinatal mental health care in this. Mental illnesses are the most common serious health complications of pregnancy and the postnatal period, and a major cause of maternal death. There has been no sign of improvement in the effects of these illnesses on mothers and their babies in the past decades, despite significant improvements in physical health outcomes.”


As a partner and a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) operations group, the iHV is delighted to share this good news.

Launch of independent evaluation of Everyone’s Business Campaign

Today, Tuesday 19 July, sees the launch of the independent evaluation of the MMHA Everyone’s Business Campaign.

This evaluation highlights the substantial impact the campaign has had; the reasons for the impact, and where the campaign will need to focus in the future.

Please find below the direct links to the Briefing Paper (just two pages) and the full report:

Please use #everyonesbusiness when mentioning in social media!

MMHA Everyone’s Business Funding announcement

Also, hot off the press, fantastic news! Comic Relief confirmed that the follow-up funding for the MMHA and the Everyone’s Business Campaign has been secured! See below:

A grant of £750,000 has been secured from Comic Relief.  This is intended to:

The grant will continue to be hosted by Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) on behalf of the MMHA

MMHA says:

a huge thank you for all your on-going support – the outcomes of the evaluation and further funding is a reflection of how well the alliance has worked collectively.