About the Angela Harrison Charitable Trust
We are a small charity based locally in Cornwall, set up after the tragic death of Angie in 2005.
The charity was the idea of her husband, Anthony. During her illness, Angie had been desperate to meet other women who were struggling with postnatal depression, but there was nowhere to go. Anthony’s idea was for a charity to set up groups for women affected in the same way as Angie which could support mothers and their families.
Initially, all those involved were either friends, relations or colleagues of Angie but over time the group has evolved and now includes others who have a professional interest in perinatal mental health or who have been personally affected.
We have tried various formats for groups but for one reason or another none have been sustainable. We are now in negotiations with a local provider of primary care psychological services which has been commissioned to deliver therapeutic groups for women with postnatal depression, to see how the Trust can support these women to continue their group on an informal basis after they have completed their therapy.
The charity has evolved in terms of its objectives. It soon became clear that NHS services for women with perinatal mental health problems were almost non-existent in Cornwall. Women were cared for by the generic adult mental health services. If they needed hospital admission, they would either be admitted into adult psychiatric wards in Cornwall without their babies or be sent to Mother and Baby Units as far away as London or Southampton. The NICE guidelines on antenatal and postnatal mental health published in 2007 recommended that every woman should have access to a specialist perinatal mental health service. The Trust started to campaign vigorously for a service in Cornwall and thanks to supportive local health commissioners, our local service was finally launched in 2013, run by a psychiatrist with a special interest in the field and 2 very experienced and expert mental health nurses.
We continue to push for the provision of mother and baby beds in the South West and there are rumours that there may be imminent news on this front too. Watch this space……..
Finally, we have been active in providing education for local midwives, health visitors, mental health workers and doctors. We have been running bi-annual perinatal mental health study days, each attended by well over a hundred delegates who come to hear inspirational speakers from all over the UK- including Southampton, London, Glasgow and Cardiff.
And so all this has been borne from the desire of one man to ensure that no-one else would have to go through what his family has had to endure. If Angie is watching, she must be very proud.
About the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team
We are a small team, consisting of a part-time Consultant Psychiatrist, two Mental Health Nurses and a Team Secretary, offering a county-wide service.
Our focus is mum and baby having the best start in life and we therefore work in partnership with other agencies to ensure this. Service users are offered services in line with a stepped care pathway as recommended by NICE.
Those ladies who have more complex mental health needs will have a comprehensive care plan developed with them and other professionals involved to accommodate mental health needs and risks around the time of delivery.