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 to ensure that maternal mental health peer support is of a high quality. These bespoke quality assurance principles can be used by third sector organisations facilitating maternal mental health peer support to ensure that the peer support is safe and effective. 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?

We will conduct 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 run 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?

We are testing a draft set of quality assurance principles that we developed based on interviews with organisations facilitating peer support, focus groups with mums involved in peer support, and consultation events in Birmingham and London. If you would like to attend our final consultation event in Newcastle on September 21st, please sign up here.


Who do I contact for more information?

Please contact Andreja Mesaric by email: for more information.