Getting postnatal mental illness out of hiding

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NCT

The Hidden Half

NCT approached us to launch a new campaign raising awareness of postnatal mental illness, and encourage the public to lobby the government to improve the postnatal 6-week check that all new mothers receive from their GP.

Problem

Postnatal mental illness, which can encompass low mood, anxiety, obsessive compulsion and psychosis, affects half of all new mothers, and only half of those that suffer receive the treatment they need. Often 6-week check-ups are rushed, or the GPs focus solely on the mother and baby’s physical health. Even when new mothers are asked about how they are feeling, many feel that they are unable to discuss their symptoms for fear of being judged a failure or a bad mother. NCT wants the government to better fund these check-ups so that postnatal mental illness can be brought out of hiding and more mothers can be treated.

Solution

We created a social media campaign called The Hidden Half, referring to the large number of women who suffer but are not diagnosed. At the heart of the campaign was a film featuring an extremely brave new mother who was willing to discuss her experiences on screen, in order to encourage other women to share their stories and seek help. This was supported by social media posts featuring poignant quotes from other women who have suffered from postnatal mental illness.

Impact

In February 2020, thanks to #HiddenHalf supporters, the English government announced that GP postnatal checks will be funded in England from April 2020. So every new mother will be entitled to a dedicated appointment with her GP practice to discuss her own health and mental health. The campaign attracted 51,000 views on Facebook, with many women commenting with their own stories and experiences.