Parent and Infant Mental Health Scotland (PIMHS) campaigns for the best mental health care for babies, parents and carers during pregnancy and the first three years of life.
Parent and Infant Mental Health Scotland (PIMHS) is a coalition of statutory and voluntary sector services and women and families with lived experience of mental ill health during the perinatal period. We campaign to secure interest and investment in pregnancy and the critical early years.
Our vision is that every parent, carer and baby can easily access great mental health care during pregnancy and the first three years of life.
Our mission is to drive change using our strong collective voice to engage, support and challenge national and local decision makers to value and invest in the social and emotional wellbeing of babies and families in the early years.
- Almost 1 in 5 women will experience a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the year after the birth. World Health Organisation
- Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy. These affect about 10 to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women. Royal College of Psychiatrists
- 70% will hide or underplay their illness. MMHA
- Suicide is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the UK within a year after childbirth. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Historically there has been a lack of integrated physical and mental health care for women during pregnancy and in the weeks and months following birth, and a lack of specialist perinatal mental health services to support women who become unwell. UKGOV
- At least one in eight new dads suffer from postnatal depression, with up to 45% of dads affected by postnatal stress and anxiety. Fathers Network Scotland
- Almost 20% of babies and young children also experience mental health difficulties. Inspiring Scotland
- Around 10-25% of young children experience a disorganised attachment relationship with their main carer(s). Parent Infant Foundation
Across government and the perinatal and infant mental health landscape, there is a consensus to work together more effectively, although funding to facilitate this is at present limited. Whilst there is a Managed Clinical Network in place and the Parent and Infant Mental Health Participation Officers provide a mechanism for parents and infants experiences to feed into the debate, there is a clear gap and need for a national body to bring together these voices of experience, influence policy, challenge poor performance and campaign for change in a unified and concerted way. The direction of travel and the specific commitments outlined by the Scottish Government’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board (PIMHS) widely align with PIMHS’s purpose/approach and represent real opportunities for us to bring additionality going forwards.
PIMHS will fill a critical and growing demand for a national representative organisation in the field of perinatal and infant mental health. There are a number of excellent networks and support providers across Scotland, but we will act to fill the missing link between them and build their capacity further. We will expand our established network of clinicians, third sector workers and experts by experience and add value and strengthen the sector. We will provide an overarching, consensus driven and comprehensive offering which combines information, research and training, coordination and representation, lobbying and awareness raising under one roof. We are independent of any agency and will be the only organisation in Scotland to do this.
Meet the team
Emma McDowall – Communications Officer
Emma has worked in various roles in the children’s sector since 2010, including positions in education, social care and the legal sector. Her most recent role was Scheme Manager at Home-Start Dunfermline, where she led a team of staff supporting parents of children under 5 across Dunfermline and West Fife. Combined with her own experience of mental ill-health in early parenthood, this experience has made her passionate about securing the very best care and support for parents and their children at this most crucial time. She helps run her local Toddler group, which was a key support for her postnatally.
Annabelle Openshaw – Everyone’s Business Campaign Co-ordinator
Annabelle manages the Everyone’s Business Campaign in Scotland, in partnership with colleagues from the UK-wide Maternal Mental Health Alliance. This campaign calls for all women and their families to receive perinatal mental health support, wherever and whenever they need it. Annabelle’s background is in publishing and marketing for the legal sector. She found that becoming a mum had a significant impact on her mental health and soon realised she was just one of many struggling parents. This gave her the motivation and courage to change career, which she started by gaining a postgraduate certificate in counselling and becoming a volunteer PMH peer supporter and maternity ward helper.
Joanne has been Chair of Parent Infant Mental Health since 2019. Having spent a decade as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster and Holyrood, she is now Policy and Public Affairs Manager at NSPCC Scotland. She is passionate about securing priority and investment in early years services, from peer support to specialist care, to provide a continuum of support to families.
Joanne believes PIMHS can help to break down traditional clinical boundaries, rooting perinatal and infant mental health in communities alongside wider support services. She is committed to equality, social justice and local, integrated services that are compassionate, non-stigmatising and accessible.
Dr Ashleigh Macauley
Ashleigh is the Clinical Lead for PIMHS and has been in this role since 2019. In her day job she is a Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and loves her job, as she feels privileged to support families through a difficult time. She became involved with PIMHS as she felt that all woman, children and families should have equal access to mental health services. Ashleigh wants her children to grow up in a world in which there is no stigma surrounding mental health and everyone has the right and ability to access the highest quality care.
Dr Anna Wroblewska
I was the Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the East of Scotland Perinatal service for 10 years. I came into the specialty in 1999. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the ongoing developments we have for women today in Scotland from getting involved in the planning and development of services back in the early 2000’s, As a member of the original Perinatal Forum and a trustee and secretary for Maternal Mental Health Scotland I retain my involvement now as a trustee with PIMHS. The bonus of providing treatment that makes a difference to more than one person but influences a whole family and the next generation is something that has never lost its thrill for me and is what drives me to be stay involved.
Dr Christine Puckering
Christine is a clinical, forensic and neuropsychologist with a special interest in early parent-child relationships. Her PhD examined in depth the interaction between depressed mothers and their children. She held a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to look at countries where children were thriving according to the UNICEF Innocenti Index, to learn what they did to identify risk early in the child’s life (including antenatally) and to alleviate that risk. She was previously Programme Director at Mellow Parenting, which involved developing, evaluating and publicising programmes to promote good parent-child relationships from pregnancy to preschool. Her motto is “What about the Baby?”.
Emma started her midwifery training in 1995 and holds a BSc in Midwifery and Health Studies and an MSc in Health Studies (Maternal and Child Health). Emma has worked in a variety of roles within clinical midwifery and has been National Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Midwives since 2009 where she represents midwives across eight Scottish health boards, supporting RCM branch representatives and representing midwives and maternity care in a variety of national workstreams. She recently undertook a secondment as Principal Educator, focusing on training for maternity in the National Trauma Training Programme at NHSNES. Additionally, she has a professional portfolio around education and professional policy with a focus on public health and perinatal mental health and has also spoken at conferences from both a professional and lived experience perspective.
Nikki is Director of Home-Start Glasgow North and North Lanarkshire, a family support charity. She provides strategic leadership to the organisation and identifies and creates opportunities to build on previous successful work in meeting the needs of families whilst developing volunteers and connecting communities. Nikki has worked in the third sector for 20 years including in homelessness, befriending and housing support, all with a focus on communities. As Trustee, she brings experience of managing project work within the third sector. She is passionate about ensuring that there is equity of care and support for parents, particularly in the early years.