Friday, 24 September 2010

Looking for Mums and Dads to help shape the future for care around postnatal depression!

One of the reasons that I dedicate my time to talking and writing about postnatal illness is that I feel that if more information and treatment is available then it could be avoided or at least improved, for future parents. I am eternally grateful that I recovered and therefore something must have helped me, however, there were other things that definitely could have been better. Do you feel like that? Are you or a loved one now better but would like your voice to be heard to help others from the same fate?

If so, we have an opportunity to do just that. Primarily for those those located in the NW of England to attend a few meetings (travel and attendance paid) but also for others to contribute on-line.

Some of the professionals involved in this process recognise the value of learning from previous patients and here is a message from on:-

We need more, information from parents about their experience of perinatal mental health services and the kinds of services they’d like to see developed.  Gathering those views of both mothers and father’s that have needed emotional and psychological support during the early months and sometimes years of their child’s life is an important part of this project and we are bringing together an ‘Experts by Experience Reference Group’ that will report to the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Project’s Steering Group.  Their function is to give advice, challenge where necessary and highlight any gaps.
The Experts by Experience Reference Group will be supported by a wider virtual network of service-users with experience of Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services, who will be able to view project reports and make comments and share ideas throughout the remainder of the project.       
If you would like more information on NHS North West’s  Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Improvement Project or perhaps you have used perinatal and infant mental health services and would like to get more involved with other service users in supporting the project, then please contact me at

And yes, I will be there!

Elaine Hanzak

Thursday, 23 September 2010

At last! 'Saving Grace' is published! Well done Grace!

Regular readers will have read about how pleased that I am that one of the many Mums who is in contact with me has gone on to have a happy and successful pregnancy and motherhood after having suffered with mental health issues with a previous child. In this case Grace is now busy with her adorable twins!

However, I am delighted to report that her story of puerperal psychosis has just been published - Saving Grace: My Journey & Survival Through Post Natal Depression, by Grace Sharrock 

Grace was keen to share her story, as I was, but we both acknowledged that our backgrounds were very different. She was abandoned by the father of her baby and as a single mum had struggles beyond those I faced. Her puerperal psychosis was more the 'classic' case with her plunging into a psychotic state within days of her baby being born. We both got excited at our mutual behaviour of walking the streets in our night clothes!

Grace takes you on her roller coaster ride of an illness which is still misunderstood and underestimated for it's impact on not just the mother, but for all those involved.

When you pick up 'Saving Grace' make sure you have a few hours to spare as you won't want to put it down.

It has lessons for us all - as teenagers, parents, sufferers and professionals.

Go get your copy!

Elaine Hanzak

I am speaking on postnatal illness in Birmingham on 19th October.

I am the opening speaker at this event and will also sit on the panel - hope to see you there!

'May I invite you to attend this Birmingham LINk event, which will examine the issue of postnatal depression from the perspective of the service user, the commissioners, the service providers, including the 3rd sector, also the informal support networks which exists within our communities.

We will also hear how PND sits within the wider, national policy agenda.

There will be fun activities, including 'pampering', bollywood dancing and traditional music.

It is suitable for all, and gives us a chance to hear what is happening now and what is planned for the future.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions of our expert panelists, partake of self-help tools and network with others who have an interest in PND and supporting families.

There is ample car-parking and good bus service.

Any further information needs can be supplied by contacting Linda Onerhime whose details are on the poster.

Certificates of attendance are available for professional updates, on request.

Please share the information across your networks.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

Elsie Gayle
Womens Health & Maternity Group
Birmingham LINk'

Elaine Hanzak

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

101 Blogs to help you deal with depression

I was delighted to find that my blog appears here

Lots of others to have a look at if this area interest you.

Elaine Hanzak

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Back in the swing again for postnatal illness!

I am now back from a magical East Mediterranean cruise - see my photos on Facebook!/elaine.hanzak?v=photos
I certainly have a sparkle now!

I am now refreshed and ready to continue my campaign to spread awareness and understanding of postnatal illness! My baby niece Sophie is an absolute delight and seeing her 'serene' Mum it makes me really appreciate even more what Dom and I missed out on due to my illness when he was a baby. Sophie is now the same age he was when I began my significant 'downfall' into severe depression. What a tragedy for all of us at that time but it continues to motivate me to help others avoid the illness if I can. I am in the process of confirming some more speaking engagements over the next couple of months. I decided not to go to New Zealand to speak this year as it is such a long way but hope to another time.

Dominic began his Year 10 this September. GCSE's homework has begun in earnest! And he is now as tall as me!

I intend to be back much more again at my 'blogging' and look forward to a productive autumn.

Ann Girling and I are doing a presentation in Bracknell next week and are on the look-out for more Children's Centres to book us!

Elaine Hanzak