Mums Matter: designing for perinatal mental health

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Dr Laura Warwick

Mind and Northumbria University

Claire Bradnam


About this Case Study

This case study will describe the learning from co-designing a mental health service. The findings are drawn from semi-structured interviews with co-designers and service users, as well as practitioner reflections.

In June 2015, Mind's service design team started working on a project to design a mental health service to support mothers in the perinatal period (from pregnancy to the child's first birthday) experiencing poor mental health. Up to 20% of women will develop a mental health problem in the perinatal period, including problems such as antenatal and postnatal depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD and postpartum psychosis.

Five women, alongside 2 local Minds and key members of Mind nationally, became part of a co-design group that took part in a monthly workshop to go through each stage of a service design methodology. In the course of this process, the co-designers interviewed 25 women with lived experience and 11 public and voluntary sector experts.

They used the insights derived from these interviews to design a service, Mums Matter, which brings mums together over an 8-week period and guides them through content to address myths of motherhood, nurture themselves and handle the everyday demands of being a mother. Mums Matter has now been through 3 live prototypes, which have resulted in a final iteration, piloted in Wales from June 2017.

Mind is the only charity to be embedding service design within its organisation and network. As this is the first co-designed service within Mind (and we believe the first within a mental health context that is to be replicated on national scale), this presents huge opportunities to influence similar processes in other parts of the health sector.

The case study will also reflect on the advantages and challenges of co-designing mental health services. It will suggest ways to manage the wellbeing of co-designers with lived experience throughout the service design process, as well as the tension between design-led and clinical-led evaluation.

About the Speakers

Dr Laura Warwick

Dr. Laura Warwick is a lecturer and researcher in social innovation and design at Northumbria University. She recently completed her PhD, which explored the value of design approaches to voluntary organisations delivering public services. Laura continues to work in the sector, currently helping Mind to embed service design across their federated network, the largest mental health network in the UK.


Claire Bradnam

Claire Bradnam is a service designer at Mind. She has extensive experience both delivering and designing public sector services. Her current interests are exploring the participatory experience of the design process and around enabling design-led working in the third sector.