Mums and Babies in Mind
Final Project Report
Author: Sally Hogg
Mums and Babies in Mind (MABIM) was a three year, Big Lottery Funded project hosted by the Mental Health Foundation on behalf of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
• The project supported local commissioners and providers in four local authority areas of England to improve services and pathways for mums with perinatal mental health problems and their babies. We also shared learning and resources more widely to inform and inspire professionals across the UK.
• MABIM had a flexible, multi-faceted approach combining professional development and training, with bespoke support and advice to local areas. The project adapted to the needs of local partners, the changing national context and our learning about what worked.
• The MABIM team worked with passionate providers and commissioners from a range of organisations, supporting them to drive change in their services and local systems. We shared insights from research, best practice and lived experience; provided opportunities for professionals to connect and learn from each other, and helped local champions to build the knowledge, confidence and motivation to drive change. All elements of this approach were welcomed by those who participated in the project.
• MABIM took a whole-system approach, working with professionals from a range of disciplines not only to improve services, but also to create local pathways and partnerships, which are essential to ensure that all women experiencing perinatal mental health problems get the right support at the right time.
• Leaders who engaged with the MABIM project made a number of changes in their local areas as a result: They improved elements of their own practice and services, they acted as champions to influence decision-making in their local systems, and they shared their learning with a range of local colleagues.
• Leaders who engaged with the MABIM professional development and training opportunities found them to be very useful and inspiring. However the extent to which leaders could put this learning into practice depended on their local context: Professionals need a mandate, support and resource to turn learning into practice.
• Local leadership, partnerships between agencies, and a shared vision and strategy are essential for driving whole-system change to ensure that the right services and care pathways are in place and acting effectively. In areas where these things are in place and working effectively, more change can be implemented and at a faster pace.
• It can be difficult for professionals to find time in their busy schedules to engage with learning and development opportunities, even if they find these opportunities valuable. If we ran a programme like MABIM again, we would consider a regional approach to reduce the time and cost of travelling, and we would ensure that senior leaders in organisations were fully signed up to release staff to attend training and fund their travel for the entire programme.
• MABIM showed that the reach and impact of local activity can be increased through using social media and online resources to share learning with a wider audience, and through encouraging participants to become changeagents who share their learning in their organisation, area and more widely.
• Local support and resources are a helpful complement to MMHA’s campaigning activity. Campaigning wins the hearts and minds of local and national decision makers. Advice, information and support enables local professionals to make a positive changes to services for women and their families.