Maternal Mental Health: Peer Support Quality Assurance Principles

 What is this study?

Comic Relief and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) have commissioned Mind and the McPin Foundation to develop a set of guidelines on how to ensure that maternal mental health peer support is of a high quality to ensure safety and effectiveness, known as bespoke quality assurance principles, for third sector organisations facilitating maternal mental health peer support. This research builds on our previous work on peer support principles developed through the evaluation of the Side by Side project.


Why is this research important?

Access to peer support is an important aspect of recovery for many women experiencing mental health difficulties during pregnancy and after giving birth. The principles will aim to assure the quality and consistency of online and face to face peer support in perinatal mental health and are a key part of wider work to ensure that peer support in perinatal mental health promotes positive outcomes and is:

  • Safe for women and babies
  • Accessible to all and inclusive
  • High quality and evidence-based
  • Trusted by clinical services
  • Measuring and demonstrating outcomes and achieving maximum impact.

How are McPin involved?

Over the course of the next year we will be conducting qualitative research with women engaging in maternal mental health peer support, organisations facilitating peer support, and other stakeholders with an interest in maternal mental health. Together with Mind, we will be running a series of consultation events across England where we will test draft versions of the quality assurance principles.


How are people with experience of maternal mental health problems involved in the research?

Four women with experience of maternal mental health problems have been recruited as Lived Experience Facilitators. They will be involved in co-designing and running the consultation events. They will also design and conduct focus groups with women who have used maternal mental health peer support and input into data analysis.


What is the current status of the project?

The project began in January 2018. We are currently conducting qualitative interviews with peer support projects funded through Comic Relief’s maternal mental health funding initiative and other stakeholders from the sector. The findings from these interviews will inform the planning of the first of three consultation events that is scheduled to take place in Birmingham on April 12th. If you cannot attend the events but would like to contribute your thoughts please complete this survey by clicking here.


Who do I contact for more information?

Please contact Andreja Mesaric by email: for more information.