October 5, 2014
September was an exciting time for me as I took my first overseas trip. The highlight of my trip was attending the International Marce Society Conference in Wales. The conference theme was “Creating Change in Perinatal Mental Health.” It was an honor to meet individuals from all over the world striving to make a difference in the area of perinatal mental health. The conference objectives were:
- To promote and gain a greater understanding of behavioural and neuro sciences and the impact on perinatal mental health.
- Examine the diversity of international interventions and explore the efficacy of these and application to research and practice.
- Network with colleagues from across the globe to share research ideas, develop practice and enhance existing ideas.
- Create change in perinatal mental health to ensure every mother and her infant has access to the best possible care.
My experience was that the conference met all these objectives. For me, I definitely came away with much more knowledge and understanding of perinatal mental health. The plenary sessions included cutting edge research presented by experts in perinatal mental health. A few of the symposiums I attended included “Screening and Mood Disorders”, “Bipolar Disorder and Childbirth – Perspectives from around the World” and “Recent developments in Bipolar Disorder and Postpartum Psychosis.” It was amazing to learn how much is being done in other countries in the area of perinatal mental health.
A highlight of the conference for me was meeting several members of the team involved with the APP (Action Postpartum Psychosis) United Kingdom Network. The resources, the peer support network and the research opportunities that APP offers are incredible. My hope is that the organization can serve as a role model for other countries in addressing postpartum psychosis.
Of course, being able to present my poster on Perinatal Mental Health and Advocacy: From Crisis to Contribution was a privilege for me. As you can see from the photo above, I was excited and proud to be able to participate in a poster session.
The conference encouraged me and motivated me to continue my advocacy efforts in the area of mental health related to childbearing, in particular in increasing awareness and understanding of postpartum psychosis. The United States has a long way to go but strides have been made and continue to be made. I am blessed to be able to partake in the efforts now and in the future.