Dr Andrew Mayers

Perinatal mental health research

This page examines current and completed research that I have been involved with, focusing on perinatal mental health. The current work is being undertaken with my research team (mostly psychology students) and with research groups and national charities.

Midwives' perceptions on knowledge and training in perinatal mental health

We worked with midwives, recruited from the Royal College of Midwives and my contacts in perinatal mental health across the UK, we asked participants how well equipped they were to support perinatal women with mental health problems.  We will be publishing that research soon.

Health visitors' perceptions on knowledge and training in perinatal mental health

We worked with health visitors, recruited from the Institute of Health Visiting and my contacts in perinatal mental health across the UK, we asked participants how well equipped they were to support perinatal women with mental health problems.  We will be publishing that research soon.

GPs' perceptions on knowledge and training in perinatal mental health

We worked with general practitioners, recruited from my GP contacts across the UK, we asked participants how well equipped they were to support perinatal women with mental health problems.  We will be publishing that research soon.

Nurses' perceptions on knowledge and training in perinatal mental health

We are currently recruiting participants for this new study, focusing on nurses who have access to parents during the perinatal period. Once again, we are asking participants how well equipped they were to support perinatal women with mental health problems.

Birth trauma

Significant numbers of mothers experience birth trauma, whether that be an unexpected change in the birth plan (such as an unplanned caesarean birth), blood loss, obstetric complications, through to serious events that could lead to loss of life for mother and/or baby. Very little is known about what support information and support mums get, during and after the event. Some evidence suggests that mums who experience birth trauma are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or postnatal depression. We have been running some research that will explore mothers' perceptions about the information and support they received and the impact of that trauma.

We are also undertaking some research with fathers who witnessed their wife/partner's birth trauma. We have some initial data, but need to gather more data. Details about that can be found on the fathers mental health page.

Fathers' mental health

We have been working on several projects focusing on fathers. Find out more on the dedicated page for that work.

Previous work

Postnatal sleep - a pilot study

Given the relationship between poor sleep and depression (see sleep research pages) it makes sense that this may also have an impact for new mothers. Many new mums experience reduced sleep, but how does that influence mood? In this longitudinal study we explored that relationship, in what was a pilot study for a larger piece of work that became a PhD project. Click here to find out more

Is poor sleep a risk factor for postnatal depression?

Following on from that pilot study. my former PhD student (Dr Lauren Kita) explored the extent that poor sleep may be a risk factor for postnatal depression. It may seem obvious that sleep is compromised in pregnancy, and after the baby is born. However, what if that sleep is poorer even accounting for that? What does that mean for the mother's mood? Click here to find out more

Cognition and mother-infant interaction in serious mental illness

It is well known that the attachment bond between mother and infant is crucial to help a child develop socially cognitively and emotionally. So, what happens when that bond is compromised when the mother experiences poor mental health. In this study (conducted with University of Southampton) we explored mother-infant interaction in mothers with serious mental illness. Click here to find out more.