Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Going Global with Yorkshire Forward

I attended a large event organised by Yorkshire Forward and UKTI called Going Global, held at the impressive Harrogate showground, as part of my growing role as an an international speaker.

Along with Jackie Whiteley of http://www.strulch.co.uk/ and Sandra Corcoran of http://www.penninecycles.com/Home.htm - both of whom I have met thanks to www.forwardladies.com , we listened to a full morning of speakers.

The day was hosted by BBC correspondent Nils Blythe and the first speaker I heard was Dr. James Bellini who talked about the emerging markets of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and encouraged businesses to gear their exporting power north of the equator in the years ahead. He is described as a futurologist. http://www.jamesbellini.com/

We were then treated to Lord Digby Jones - well at least a video of him - encouraging businesses to go global!

I was very impressed with Allyson Stewart-Allen, http://www.intermarketingonline.com/, who spoke about culture and international business, with a focus on the American market. She pointed out the need for knowing the rules of business in the destination and to be persistent. She also demonstrated some British words which do not have the same meaning in the USA, e.g. pulling into a 'lay-by' is not an expression that the Americans would take politely.

Then we listened to three speakers who were from Yorkshire who have made successful businesses with international trade. They shared some of their tips for success, e.g. being flexible, innovative, doing your research.

There were then a choice of masterclasses to attend. I went to one on marketing lead by Jonathan Sands from Elmwood Design http://www.elmwood.co.uk/flash/?#/home/. We were treated to an array of stunning photographs from around the globe and the importance of your brand message across different cultures. I confess that I was pleased when he said that anyone helping to alleviate stress and anxiety in business were onto a winner! He gave plenty of hints and tips for trading internationally and suggested techniques to make potential customers to smile, which improved your chance of success. He also stressed the importance of knowing business protocol in different countries and suggested two books ' When cultures collide' http://www.amazon.com/When-Cultures-Collide-Richard-Lewis/dp/1857880870 and 'The world is flat' http://www.amazon.com/World-Flat-History-Twenty-first-Century/dp/0374292884

The catering at Yorkshire event centre was excellent and also had an international theme. http://www.eventcentre.co.uk/

After networking I then sat in another Masterclass about market research for trading abroad. This was a useful look at researching your market by desk, internet and field. Have a look at 'Surfing without Drowning' at http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/6798219245745492853/export-marketing-research-scheme.html for loads of useful tips on looking at researching your potential markets abroad.

Then it was the 'big catch' of the day with an interview by Nils Blythe with Sir Alan Sugar - at least he appeared in person. The focus was supposed to be on going global but we got a long history of how he had started in business and eventually a few tips, e.g. use the phone and electronic means of communication before you get on a plane to meet prospective overseas clients. He also advised not to moan and to deal with obstacles in your way. Sadly many of the questions from the floor seemed to be used as an opportunity to 'test and market' their business to Sir Alan and the delegates as opposed to generic 'Going Global' questions. He over ran by at least 20 minutes keen to answer questions but none were really of use!

I was able to meet up briefly with the UKTI rep from Latvia, who I had met there earlier in the year, and her colleagues from Lithuania and Estonia. My articles have appeared in Lithuanian magazines recently and I hope to return there to speak at some point.

Thank you Yorkshire Forward http://www.yorkshire-forward.com/www/index.asp and UKTI https://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ for an interesting and useful day and I am busy following up the advice and introductions I got. My suggestions to any business looking to trade abroad would be to make use of these agencies or their equivalents around the country!


Friday, 26 September 2008

Lunch with Hazel Blears, MP.

Today I attended a Women's Business Lunch held by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a member.

Initially I had a coffee and very interesting chat with Robyn from Robertson Fox.
She explained some of her individual coaching techniques which sound most impressive!

The venue was the new Ramada hotel at Salford - very plush! Great function room with a huge picture window over Salford Quays.

Due to taking a phone call I was late going into the function room and purely by chance ended up on the table with Angie Robinson, Chief Executive of the Chamber and the guest and speaker of the event Hazel Blears MP!

Also at the table was Sue Fogg from the hotel, Katherine and Arvid from Inspired Lives, Julie Finch from Axonbirch and Fiona Desmond from Martin Ward Anderson.

It was a very pleasant lunch with everyone sharing their businesses. I confess that I have been feeling rather tired since my jet setting but after listening to Hazel speak I was raring to go with such enthusiasm again!

Hazel described her start in life in the rather run-down Salford of years ago. At 14 she felt inspired to 'make a difference' in the world when seeing a 'tramp' in Manchester City centre. Now she has worked her way up to being in the Cabinet - her passion, humility and appreciation for her post shone through as did her utmost respect for her parents and their influence on her life. You are an inspiration Hazel - and write a book of your journey to the Cabinet! It would make fantastic reading!

When I was at college over 20 years ago my boyfriend Greg lived in Salford. Where we were today used to be industrial waste land. Now it is a buzzing place with the Media City being built along with real northern pride! Great progress and achievement.

My sadness about Salford though is that until recently there was a great system for mothers with postnatal depression as part of the Sure Start scheme. But funding has ended and so has the service, with the talented and dedicated staff dispersed. What a huge shame.

I called at my parents on the way home because they remain a great inspiration and tower of strength for me!


Thursday, 25 September 2008

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Today I attended a conference organised by the North West Regional Infant and Maternity Mental Health Network, of which I have become part of. The theme was 'Consultation and planning event needs, gaps and strategic challenges in the NW'.

The aims were:

• To confirm the importance of perinatal and infant mental health and its position in terms of current health and social care strategy

• To build capacity in the field of infant and maternal mental health at a regional and local level

• To present the findings of a recent scope of gaps and needs

• To explore the contribution of managed care networks and specialised perinatal mental health teams for improving outcomes for affected families in the NW

• To provide an opportunity for action planning across systems and services

I feel the aims were met and it was great to see almost 70 delegates from across the NHS there, especially some commissioners. There are some extremely highly motivated and committed staff in the region in this area but clearly there are huge gaps in provision.

I confess that I wanted to tell everyone there about my trip to Sydney and to stress some of the issues I learnt there! I am delighted that the 'Watch, wait and wonder' scheme that I was so impressed with is now being trialed down the road from me!

I urge everyone involved to begin to move forward in this area so we can alleviate the needless suffering out there!

Let's get some long-term funding and plans sorted and get cracking!


Tuesday, 23 September 2008

How are you at time management?

Tonight we had a guest to stay with us. Robyn Pearce from New Zealand kindly let Dominic and I share a room with her on our last night in New York, after the National Speakers Association convention in August. We first met at a Global Speakers Network event held at the United Nations, where we were seated next to one another.

Robyn was visiting the UK to do a series of talks and dropped in on us in Cheshire between her engagements in the Lake District and Cardiff.

She is an amazing lady, mother of six and starts each day with a run!

Have a look at her details at http://www.gettingagrip.com/

I never cease to be amazed by the new friendships and opportunities which can be made by networking via groups. My new speaking 'family' of PSA has literally opened the world up for me!


Perhaps if the invitation to go back to Australia next October materialises then I may just have to go to New Zealand too!


Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Samaritans conference

I was honoured to be invited to speak at the annual conference for The Samaritans. What a wonderful group of people! The venue was the University of York.

I was given a Samaritan to escort me, which was a lovely touch, and was made to feel most welcome.

The passion and commitment shown by the 1200 volunteers was incredible and made me feel most humble.

Some of the comments to my session were:-

• “Honest first hand account – positive approach”
• “Well presented, interesting to get an insight into this subject which I know nothing about”
• “Excellent and useful. Learned a lot. Good speaker”
• “Personally found this emotional. Talked straight from the heart. Helped to understand PND and depressive illness in general”

So I am delighted if some callers are helped even further due to me sharing my experiences.

I encourage people to support The Samaritans in any way and if you are suffering call them and you know that someone is prepared to listen to you - one of the best healers in my opinion.


It was also good to meet up with a fellow member of the Professional Speakers Association, Richard McCann. I read his book 'Just a boy' on the flight back from Sydney. He was also speaking at the conference.

Need to read his sequel now!

Thank you 'Sams' for making me feel so welcome and appreciated!


Thursday, 18 September 2008

From Sydney to Doncaster!

Tonight I spoke in the prestigious Royal Suite at Doncaster Racecourse, to a group of health professionals.


The event had been organised well by SMA as a study event.

I was especially excited to speak as I was able to include the latest research into my story from what I had learnt in Sydney the previous week.

As I spoke a photographer from the RCN journal was busy taking shots of me as I have written an article on Patient Empowerment which is due out in November edition of Nursing Management, and they wanted some pictures.

I stayed at the Grand St Leger hotel across the road from the race course and highly recommend it! One of the most comfortable beds I have slept in!



Saturday, 13 September 2008

Marce Society - Final day

My final day in Sydney dawned so I packed my bags and headed across the road for the final sessions.

First was Philip Boyce from University of Sydney who spoke on Clinical issues in the Management of Mothers with Schizophrenia.

Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal spoke about Channi Kumar's Legacy for Perinatal Psychiatry and Mother-baby joint care. He was one of the founder members Of the International Marce Society in 1980.


After lunch I was fascinated in a presentation about 'Watch, Wait and Wonder'.


A video shown by Michael Zilibowitz was especially impressive. This is a deceptively simple but highly effective intervention that uses an infant or child led
approach to heal troubled relationships between a parent and child. It involves the parent getting down on the floor with her child in the clinicians room and asked to follow the child’s lead, not to teach, intervene or initiate the child’s activity in any way but be watchful and responsive to whatever the child wants to do. By learning to watch and realize that she does not have to intervene, the parent begins to observe and appreciate her child s individuality. As a result she comes to read the child s signals more objectively and becomes sensitive and responsive to the child s needs. The child is also allowed to express her inner life and develop a sense of self through play, exploration and interaction with the parent. This process often helps intrusive and directive parents to adopt the observer role and withdrawn or distant parents to take on the active observer’s stance and often truly see their child for the first time. Following the child led actively which last from about twenty to thirty minutes the parent is asked to discuss her observations and experiences with the clinician. Motivated parents are encouraged to continue this process in the home. The concept is a potentially powerful tool for general parental education.

The final session was a Hypothetical presentation given by a panel of the main speakers who considered what they would do with a problematic pregnant lady!

Then it was time to get a shuttle back to the airport and my flight home. Amazingly Atif Rahman who had spoken at the conference and I ended up sitting next to one another all the way to Dubai! So we had a wonderful opportunity to debrief and chat about perinatal mental health!

Just before I left the venue, Belinda, from Panda, said they were thinking of doing a national event in Australia next October and wondered if I would return! I would love to so if any other groups would like me in Australia next year let me know!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Marce Society Conference - Friday

Today began with a paddle and walk on the beach with my room mate Jane. One of those moments that I knew I did not miss teaching!

We got smartened up and then had a wonderful breakfast at The Manly Pacific hotel hosted by The Gidget Foundation, which was officially launched in November 2002 and since its inception has raised over $270,000 to support established organisations supporting woman and those around them affected by Perinatal Anxiety and Depression.


The main speaker was Deborah Thomas, editor of the Australian Woman's Weekly who gave a very moving account of her personal suffering. She also stressed her eagerness to help save lives by spreading awareness of postnatal illness so I gave her my details!


Then it was the main conference with a great keynote address by Atif Rahman from Liverpool University. He gave a wonderful presentation about his work in Pakistan and a study to deliver a psychological intervention to depressed mothers and their infants through non-specialist village based health workers. This report was due to be published the next day in The Lancet.

Next was Jane Ussher from the University of Western Sydney who gave us 'Rejecting Raging Hormones: The Socio-Cultural Construction and Experience of Reproductive Distress'.
See her books at http://www.alibris.co.uk/search/books/author/Ussher,%20Jane%20M

I attended a session called 'A brush with death' which was about women's experience of significant postpartum haemorrhage, by Jane Thompson. This was especially of interest to me as I had suffered this when Dominic was born. In written comments women reported fear and trauma; heightened anxiety; sense of failure, loss and disappointment; disempowerment. Postpartum symptoms included excessive fatigue and fear of future pregnancy/birth. Women also questioned clinical decisions and care. Women reported some post-traumatic stress symptoms. Conclusions were that women experiencing PPH are at risk of hysterectomy, readmission to hospital in the 4 months postpartum and report symptoms of post-traumatic stress. They may need clinical review and follow-up. But basically more TLC and information!!

After lunch I listened to Timothy O'Leary from Frances Perry House, Melbourne, talking about his 'Father's Time Program'.
Fathers in these groups are encouraged to be positively anchored during times of stress - a frank, open discussion about these issues leaves pre-natal fathers feeling much more purposeful about their transition to parenthood than simply encouraging fathers to 'get involved'.

There was opportunity to view the many posters, including one from the support group www.pni.org.uk of which I am patron.

The evening was spent amongst an international group of 6 Americans, 2 French, 1 Dutch and me from the UK. We had a wonderful meal at the end of Cabbage Tree Walk in Le Kiosk.


Kathy Wisner and Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal who are the next two Marce Presidents were amongst the merry dinners! We discussed the next two conferences to be held in Pittsburgh in 2010 and Paris in 2012!


Thursday, 11 September 2008

The International Marce Society 2008 Conference

The principal aim of the society is to promote, facilitate and communicate about research into all aspects of the mental health of women, their infants and partners around the time of childbirth. This involves a broad range of research activities ranging from basic science through to health services research.


The Society is multidisciplinary and encourages involvement from all disciplines including: psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, early childhood nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses, community nurses and health visitors.

Two years ago I was the opening speaker when it was held at Keele University and this time I had my presentation on 'Effective Delivery from the Receiving End' accepted.

I had to fund the trip myself using some of my UKTI Passport To Export grant and also had a donation from King's Church in Frodsham.

The conference was held at the Manly Pacific hotel which would have been great except for the building works which meant we had to put up with banging and drilling!

There were delegates from all over the world and some remembered me from the Keele conference.

The first morning we had three keynote addresses.
1. Gender Differences in Depression and Anxiety: Is Anatomy Destiny? by Gordon Parker.
Conclusion - differences are biologically underpinned but shaped and modified by socio-cultural factors.
2. Pre-existing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Childbearing Outcomes of 'Survivor Moms': Confirming the need for Integrated Maternity Care Services by Julia Seng.
3. Maternal Diet, Lifestyle and Stress and the contributions to Epigenetic Disruption in the Newborn: A Prospective Perinatal Twin Cohort Study, By Jeffrey Craig.

Yes - all before lunch!

After lunch there were four parallel sessions.

I attended the treatment strand.

1. Three in One: Effective Delivery of a Group Intervention of High Risk Mothers and Babies by Alison Cornish and Karen Asgill

2. My turn! Effective Delivery from the receiving end. I told my story briefly and went on to say the key elements that make a real difference to mums and their families using examples given to me by other mums.

3. Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression during Pregnancy by Scott Stuart.

I was delighted with the response to my presentation and after it every break I was given positive comments. I reduced some to tears but the main remark was that in the midst of all the scientific data it was motivating to be reminded of the personal elements and reminded of why we are all passionate about this field of expertise.

The day completed with more parallel sessions.

1. Ethical Problems in Psychotherapy by Abram Coen
2. Motherhood: Is it good for Women's Mental health? by Sara Holton et al.

The evening was spent at the Taronga centre at the zoo.
We began by drinking champagne overlooking the Sydney skyline. I had one of my 'how on earth did I end up here' moments?!
Once inside we enjoyed a tasty meal and listened to Australian TV personality Jessica Rowe movingly describing her journey of postnatal illness.

All in all a fantastic day!


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Perinatal Depression

I stayed at Manly Paradise Motel and my roomie was Jane Honikman.
We could see the sea from our room.

The first day at The Marce conference was an optional workshop on 'Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Perinatal Depression' presented by Scott Stuart (University of Iowa), Michael W. O'Hara and Rebecca Reay.

This was a therapy I knew nothing about and after the workshop felt that it was an approach which may have helped me in retrospect. The main focus is in modifying interpersonal relationships or expectations about them. It focuses on real-life outside the therapy so has a practical approach to relieve symptoms, improve interpersonal functioning and increased social support. It is based on the idea that relationships, life changes and stress can lead to depression so with appropriate intervention things can get better.
IPT is ideal for those who are struggling with changes and where there is no need to 'dig deep' for past unsolved issues, but to have a practical approach to problem solving. It focuses on resolving an acute interpersonal crisis and increasing social support. This is achieved by helping them to recognise the help they need and to communicate that need effectively.

In pregnancy there may be issues of change, e.g. concerns of the well being of the fetus. When the baby arrives there may be relationships issues, e.g. violated expectations. The relationship with the partner often changes, e.g. loss of attractiveness and there can be more problems when faced with the transition back to work. So IPT can be useful to address some of these changes.

IPT is also widely used for other applications such as eating and anxiety disorders.

We were also shown the structure of the sessions and the therapeutic techniques. The critical question is 'How well do you feel other people understand you?'

If you would like more information I have found these sites:



Can anyone tell me where it is being used to help ladies with perinatal depression in the UK?

Has anyone been treated effectively by it and would like to share their experiences?

I enjoyed the day and found it most informative.


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

"Perinatal Depression: Strengthening recovery and building social capital"

Today I was honoured to speak to a delightful audience on behalf on Panda.

PANDA has compiled the 'Guide to PND Support Groups Manual' covering many aspects of how to go about setting up different types of support groups for women with antenatal and postnatal depression. Look at it here:-

I addressed around 70 ladies who were health professionals, volunteers or mothers who had also been affected by postnatal depression. I delivered my talk on my story, signs and symptoms to look out for and ways to help sufferers.

Issues which came up and I would appreciate any advice on were support for lesbian mothers who suffer PND and also ways in which sufferers have weaned themselves off medication.

In the afternoon Jane Honikman gave a great talk on the importance of social network support. Jane, M.S., is a Parent Support Consultant/ Postpartum Specialist from Santa Barbara, California. In 1977, she co founded Postpartum Education for Parents (PEP) and became the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Birth Resource Centre in 1984. She founded the Postpartum Support International (PSI) in 1987 as a result of hosting the first conference on Women’s Mental Health Following Childbirth held in Santa Barbara. She was PSI’s first President and operated the organization until 2004. Jane has authored many articles and educational materials on postpartum issues and support, including her books Step by Step (2000) and I’m Listening (2002). She continues to lecture internationally on the role of social support and the emotional health of families. Visit her website at

One lovely idea she shared with us was that PSI have a Memory quilt with the names of those ladies who have taken their lives due to postnatal illness. It serves as a memorial and a reminder of why this is such an important area and why they should not be forgotten.

Jane spoke passionately about the need for social support and recommends these websites for more information.

Extensive information including worldwide social support network and resources
Father's website
Collaborator with PSI providing on-line support

PSI Social Support Network of trained volunteers around the world offer support and local resources. Find them at

Toll-free Helpline 800-944-4PPD offers support to women and families, in English & Spanish.

Free Weekly Telephone Support Service via teleconference with information provided by PSI member hosts

PSI also have a new publication called A Guide to Developing A Sustainable Perinatal Social Support Network in Your Community.

Before the event began I had a coffee with Joe Dodd who is the manager of Trade and Investment from the British Consulate- General. As a UKTI Passport to Export member I can arrange to meet these UK reps around the world. I recommend the scheme.

I also spoke to a charming lady called Frances Eyre who has a company called Nuture Inside - caring for Mind and Body.
See her website at www.nurtureinside.com.au

I was also given a book by Lyn Shand called 'Balance those Hormones' http://www.elkanahcounselling.com.au/books.html

Lyn told me that she is a strong believer in the importance of hormones and the role they play in PND. I am looking forward to reading it.

And with that it was back to the airport, thank you Belinda, and my flight back to Sydney.


Monday, 8 September 2008

Royal Women's Hospital, Randwick

After a long sleep I packed my case and left Shelley's. We went to her clinic at Doubletree Bay and she gave me an allergy test.


Seems I am short on folic acid and need to eat eggs, but also I have a problem with baker's yeast. So maybe I am okay with wheat but not the yeast? And I have been living wheat free for almost 5 years now! Won't try anything until I am home though.

Then we went to the Royal Women's Hospital at Randwick where I gave a talk to a room of various health professionals for an hour.


My first International presentation outside the UK! It seemed to be well received.

From there it was onto the airport where I flew to Melbourne and was met by Belinda from Panda.
PANDA is a Victorian, not-for-profit, self-help organization that was formed in 1985 to provide confidential information, support and referral to anyone affected by post and antenatal mood disorders, including partners and extended family members. PANDA also produces and distributes accurate information about post and antenatal mood disorders to health professionals and the wider community.

Their website is a goldmine of information - I highly recommend that you look at it.

Another bed - this time at Bayview on the Park hotel in Melbourne, where I had a lovely big room.


Sunday, 7 September 2008

Seeing the sights of Sydney

Jetlag meant I was awake bright and early but also seeing the blue skies made me bound out of bed. Kylie was on the radio so I had to have a dance with the excitement. I was really in Australia! My friends and I headed back down to Darling Harbour for breakfast.

Then we had a walk around the harbour and boarded the ferry across to the Opera House. The street performers were great. Next we had a wander around all the street stalls at The Rocks before we got on a triple decker train back to the hotel. At least I felt I had seen some of Sydney's sights.

Shelley and Rory collected me and we went to Watson's bay for Doyle's fish and chips as we watched the sunset. A wonderful day!


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Raining - in Sydney?

I only woke up just before 2 pm to the sound of rain! In Sydney? It had poured non-stop for hours and there was no sign of it stopping. I had supposed to have been sight seeing with my friends who moved to Sydney from Chester last year. We decided to meet for dinner instead. Meanwhile I had an afternoon in a cozy dressing gown and watched 27 dresses. Bliss.
Later on Shelley drove me into the city - slowly as there was an accident. We realised we had more in common and she told me of her book 'Callum's Cure' which is about how she helped her son with his cerebral palsy (he prefers to be called Rory now).
Finally my friends and I met up and wandered down to Darling Harbour and caught up on our respective lives over a tasty meal. It was good to hear that they have settled in well. Then it was back to the Travelodge for the night.


Friday, 5 September 2008

Off to Australia!

I flew down to Australia on Emirates via Dubai where I had a few hours stop over - such a busy, busy airport. I landed in Sydney early in the morning and got a taxi to my speaker friend's beautiful apartment. We had met last month in New York at the NSA convention. Her name is Shelley Skyes and she is the happiness guru!! That's us two with our books.

After some breakfast I left Shelley and her charming son Rory doing their tasks whilst I had a sleep. Later we went shopping to a local mall and I was surprised it was dark by 5.30 pm. After eating one of Shelley's amazing 'sexy salads' full of nutrients for lunch and a similar version as a curry we were ready to hit Sydney. We went to a lively bar called 'The Establishment' which is apparently known locally as 'the dry cleaners' as it is where women go to pick up a suit! We danced ourselves silly before we had a drive around a wet Sydney at night and then ate chocolates and chatted for hours back at her apartment! I love Australia so far!