On 4 February, PQN (Perinatal Quality Network) hosted a virtual special interest event on the topic of Diverse Motherhood.
Over 180 delegates attended, keen to expand their knowledge on improving diversity and inclusion in perinatal mental health services. The day was opened by Mary Ofori, Team Manager at Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Perinatal Mental Health Team and PQN Advisory Group member, who set the tone and asked attendees to take a thoughtful, reflective approach with what they learned during the day. The PQN team facilitated the sessions and encouraged member services to mutually exchange their thoughts, ideas and questions at the end of each insightful presentation.
The first two sessions shared findings from recent studies, providing empirical evidence for the differences in access rates for ethnic minority patients in perinatal services, and exploring links between different types of stigma that may contribute to this.
A PQN patient representative then led a brilliant session around caring for a mother with Autism in perinatal services. The session was engagingly formatted as a conversation between the patient, the various professionals she previously worked with, and what they learnt from working with an Autistic mother.
This was followed by a moving session on wellbeing in culturally diverse communities, led by a Clinical Engagement, Access and Inclusion Coordinator and Consultant Psychiatrist from the Leeds Perinatal Mental Health Service. The speakers discussed groups they run at the service which offer peer support and provide a space to empower patients from various cultural backgrounds who do not feel they fit in with perinatal services or that their communities understand them.
After lunch, we had a session on ‘Supporting LGBT Pathways’ from the founder of the Charity ‘The LGBT Mummies Tribe’, who educated the audience on the impact of words used in clinical practice and how isolating it can be for a member of the LGBTQ community when they are othered in several areas in society, including in the healthcare system.
Our last speaker discussed the cultural understanding of mental health in the Black community as well as how harmful the stereotypes of the ‘strong Black Woman’ can be.
At the end of the day there were breakout rooms to give attendees the space to discuss and digest the information they had learned, and to inspire one another with the work they could implement in their services moving forward. Mary Ofori closed the event with an insightful reflection on the common thread throughout the day – it was uplifting and positive to see how curious and open to new ideas our attendees were. There were floods of praise for speakers, reflecting the impact that the sessions had and how enlightened people were.
Following the event, we received extremely positive and heartfelt feedback from attendees via the feedback form, social media and emails. In particular, attendees said they appreciated that through the this event, they learnt real practical tips for changes they could make to improve diversity and inclusion, rather than just the barriers being highlighted or ending the conversation at saying some groups are simply ‘hard to reach’.
The network continues to grow and learn new ways to improve practice and it was a privilege to be able to hold an event which for many, can inspire real change and improvements in delivering sensitive and individualised patient care.
If you would like to access any recordings or slides for any of the sessions from the event, please do get in touch with a member of the PQN team via email@example.com.
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