Dr Andrew Mayers talks about maternal mental health on BBC Radio Solent

With one in ten women developing a mental health issue during or after pregnancy, BU’s Dr Andrew Mayers spoke to BBC Radio Solent about the lack of awareness surrounding pre and postnatal depression in some areas of Dorset.

Dr Mayers, a Senior Psychology lecturer, told the Breakfast in Dorset programme: “If a woman has got a history of previous mental health problems, you would hope that the local services would be alerted once she becomes pregnant.

“But I think it’s about more than that. Mums-to-be need to be given more information so they are aware of what could happen to them.”

When asked if there is a need for community and health service provisions, Dr Mayers argued there was, saying:

“I think it is important that anyone who is involved with mothers or mums-to-be should recognise the signs if there is a problem and know what to do within the community.

“In the worst case scenario women are taking their own lives. It’s one of the most common forms of death in that particular group of population.”

Dr Mayers is a member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which highlights the differences in support service between various areas of the country for mothers with mental health issues.

Part of the organisation’s campaign is to raise awareness for more funding and support that Dr Mayers claims is necessary for new mothers with mental health issues.

“If we spend money now on early intervention and support services, we will save money in the future for health, mental health and any other societal costs. We need the services to be brought up to scratch in mental health.”

Dr Mayers is a senior psychologist at BU and is also on the board of trustees for the organisation Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS).

Dr Andrew Mayers talks about sleep and postnatal depression on Hot Radio

Dr Andrew Mayers, senior lecturer in psychology at BU, was interviewed on Hot Radio about post-natal depression and people struggling to sleep.

In the 12 O’Clock Interview slot on the local radio station, Andrew talked to presenter Geoff Carter about post-natal depression, and the stigma still attached to it.

He said: “I think people are more aware of it than they were but there is still this stigma, fear and guilt. But it’s something that you shouldn’t feel guilty about and can be dealt with.”

“What we are hoping to do is train health visitors, GPs and mothers during the pregnancy period and afterwards about symptoms and what sort of problems might occur.”

He added that people should not be afraid to talk about the issue: “So many mothers tell me they didn’t report it as they were frightened their baby would be taken away, but that simply is not the case.”

Andrew also spoke about the research he has done into sleep patterns, and gave tips on how to get a good night’s rest.

“The impact poor sleep can have on our lives is certainly quite dramatic,” he said.

“I think one of the best things to do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep is routine and to avoid things that keep you awake at night – like mobile phones and too much activity shortly before going to bed.

“Have some sort of relaxation but also make sure the bedroom is a calm, cool, well-ventilated place to sleep.”

He also talked about the work he has been doing to tackle sleep problems in children, running workshops at Winton Primary School.

He said that if parents think their child might not be getting enough sleep, they should help them establish a routine, but also look at technology in their bedroom – such as computers or games consoles – that may be interfering with their sleep.