‘Beyond Baby Blue’ was presented at the Faculty of Public Health Film Festival and we are delighted to announce it has been highly commended by their panel of judges! Beyond Baby Blues is part of our Out of the Blue project by Best Beginnings addressing maternal mental health issues. 

Barbara Jayson, a Health Visitor working in London and Emma Whittaker a mum who had experienced postnatal anxiety/depression and a former BBC researcher, discussed making a film focused on postnatal depression to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals, politicians and Commissioners. They approached White Boat TV, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and charity Best Beginnings and the project was born.

The ‘Beyond Baby Blue’ team comprising Barbara Jayson, Emma Whittaker, Chris Godwin and David King, won the Journal of Health Visiting 2016 Innovation in Health Visiting Practice award and the 2016 Contribution to Mental Health and Attachment award.

They were also finalists in the 2016 RCN-i Mental Health Awards and won a corporate film industry 2016 Gold EVCOM award for Best Drama.

The motivation behind this film was deeply rooted in bringing awareness to the mental health struggles faced by mothers. More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby, and, if left untreated these illnesses can have a devastating impact on women and their families. Health care professionals need to recognise that anxiety disorders and depression are under-recognised throughout pregnancy and the postnatal period.

Behind the scenes of Beyond Baby Blue

With funding from the Burdett Trust the process began making a drama capturing the story of a young mother experiencing mental health problems. The script was written by Chris Godwin Creative Director of White Boat TV and was developed by weaving together true-life stories from women who had experienced perinatal mental health illnesses.

The script was then sent to an advisory group, made up of professional colleagues and mums known to Barbara and Emma as well as professionals gathered together by David King from charity Best Beginnings. It comprised of many different health professionals as well as mothers affected by mental health issues, for feedback and amendments.

Filming took place in 2015 and the rough cut of the film was once again sent to the advisory group for feedback. Overwhelming support was received for the film to be used as a tool to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues and to be used in the training of healthcare professionals.

The film Beyond Baby Blue is best used as part of a facilitated discussion – pulling out specific learning points around perinatal mental health. It should be used to encourage qualified staff to reflect on their practice, and to raise awareness of perinatal mental health issues for students.

Response from the audience

Some examples of the very positive feedback we received from healthcare professionals and parents sitting on the advisory boards:

"Very moving and very accurate; I thought it was moving and a true reflection of how a mother with PND might be feeling."

"Very powerful, harrowing depiction of this young mother's story. A sad reflection of the ways that fragmented services miss vulnerable mothers. It provides an excellent resource for HVs to consider the various stages of "the story" and what early interventions might have prevented this level of deterioration."

"Wow. Completely captivating, very realistic, great acting/casting, thought and emotion provoking."

Beyond Baby Blue was piloted in several areas and received great feedback from midwives and health visitors:

"Heartbreaking. A true insight. Made me reflect on my own practice."

"True insight into postnatal depression from a client’s perspective."

"I strongly recommend it is shown to health professionals."

If you want more information about mental and emotional changes faced by women during their pregnancy period, you can read more about our Out of the Blue campaign or download the Baby Buddy App from the  Apple Store or Google Play for free or access it through the web version of the app.