Nurse Awards

Film drama throws spotlight on perinatal mental health

A nurse has been leading the development of a powerful film that raises awareness of perinatal mental health.

Barbara JaysonBarbara Jayson. Picture credit: Barney Newman

Barbara Jayson, specialist liaison health visitor at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London, is behind Beyond Baby Blue, a drama that weaves women’s true experiences into the story of a pregnant young woman who suffers the devastating effect of postnatal depression.

A short training document drawing out themes from each scene accompanies the film.

Barbara says: ‘Many healthcare professionals have admitted to being unsure of the perinatal mental health pathways in their trusts and in some cases. They are also unsure of warning signs and symptoms of perinatal mental illness in mothers in their care.

‘It is well known that significant mental health problems during and after childbirth can cause enormous distress and seriously impact on the care of a newborn baby and existing children, and interfere with the adjustment to motherhood.

‘This film aims to improve the knowledge and awareness of healthcare professionals, thereby improving the treatment of mothers and subsequently their attachment with their babies.’

While working as a health visitor, Barbara met several women who felt let down after their perinatal mental illnesses had not been diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. She felt a film would help raise awareness of their care needs.

Barbara Jayson and Chris GodwinBarbara Jayson and Chris Godwin. Picture credit: Barney Newman

She joined forces with former BBC researcher and mother Emma Whittaker – who had personal experience of perinatal mental health illness – and approached production company White Boat TV and charity Best Beginnings about making Beyond Baby Blue. They secured funding from the Burdett Trust for Nurses and the Galvani Charitable Foundation.

Beyond Baby Blue, launched in April, is free to all NHS trusts.

Barbara is a finalist in the mental health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

Mental Health Practice editor Colin Parish was on the shortlisting panel. He says: ‘The RCNi Awards are always a great platform for mental health nurses to show how they are using their skills and ingenuity to bring about meaningful change for the service users they work with.

‘This year’s entries are strong and they demonstrate that nurses, as always, are doing their best in the challenging world of mental health care.

‘All the shortlisted nurses are touching the lives of the people they encounter and making a difference to their quality of life. They should all be immensely proud of their achievements.’

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Mental Health Practice is the most widely read journal in its field, and the only publication to cover all areas of mental health and patient care. Mental Health Practice provides a wide range of information that will enable you to develop creative and evidence-based approaches to your practice and stay informed about changes in policy and legislation. Subscribers can access a host of online resources including our archive that contains clinical and research articles dating back to 2000 and RCNi Portfolio, a simple and effective tool that helps you build, store and track your evidence for revalidation. Subscribe to the journal here.