About us

We are a team of researchers, clinicians and people with lived experience from City University London and the universities of Stirling, Oxford, York, Hull and Leeds, the NCT and Maternal Mental Health Change Agents. MAP is funded by the National Institute of Health Research, Health Services and Delivery Research programme. The team are:

Susan Ayers
Professor of Maternal and Child Health, City, University of London.

I am a psychologist specialising in perinatal mental health, particularly anxiety and birth trauma, and lead the MAP programme. Before being a researcher I was a mum and single parent which showed me first hand the need for research evidence to drive change in this area. Women’s voices are at the heart of what we do and we are delighted to be running the MAP project which has the potential to change how anxiety and other mental health needs are identified in maternity care to make sure women get the help and support they need. Everyone who takes part in MAP helps make a difference so we are very grateful to our MAP team and all our MAP women and families for helping make this happen.


Helen Cheyne
Professor of Midwifery, University of Stirling.

I am a midwife and the Royal College of Midwives Professor of Midwifery. I am the lead researcher for the Scottish sites on the MAP project. Before I became a researcher I was a practicing midwife working in the NHS for 20 years, in Glasgow and in a rural maternity hospital. As a researcher I have remained committed to improving the health, wellbeing and experience of mothers and families through provision of evidence to inform maternity care providers and service users. I am delighted to be part of this exciting and important project.


Margaret Maxwell
Professor of Health Services Research, University of Stirling

I have been involved in health services and mental health research for over 30 years. My background is in sociology, which brings a different perspective to understanding what influences our health and wellbeing, especially the influence of our social and economic circumstances throughout life. Sociology can also help us to understand how organisations (such as the NHS) and its healthcare professionals can influence health outcomes, and what works in the delivery and provision of care for different patient populations. I am delighted to be part of this research, which aims to find the best way of enabling midwives and other healthcare professionals to detect perinatal mental health problems.


Rose Coates
Research Fellow, Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research at City, University of London.

I am research psychologist working in the area of mental health in pregnancy and after birth. I have worked in this area for 10 years and had 2 children during this time, which has made me even more passionate about this research. I manage the MAP programme and am co-investigator on the project. I completed my doctoral research on the Assessment of Perinatal Mental Health Problems and work with a variety of methods. Finding out about women’s experiences and how we can improve them is at the core of all my work.


Andrea Sinesi
Research Fellow, University of Stirling

I am the researcher for the Scottish sites in the MAP project. My background is in psychology and since I moved to the UK in 2009 I have worked in a variety of roles, including as a Children’s Centre Worker in Oxford and a Family Support Worker in Edinburgh. My doctoral research was on the development of a questionnaire to identify women experiencing high levels of anxiety during pregnancy. I am passionate about supporting and promoting women’s emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth, and feel that working on the MAP project is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to this area.


Louise Williams
Research Fellow, Maternal and Child Health, City, University of London

I am a psychologist and have worked in research for 13 years in the fields of cognitive ageing, stroke, aphasia (communication impairments) following stroke, and anxiety. Through my research and from my close relationships I have witnessed the effect that mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can have on women, and the impact it can also have on their family and close friends. Early identification of mental health issues is a vital step that can lead to women getting the support and treatment if they need it. I would like to thank all our MAP participants for taking the time to help with our research. Without you our research could not be conducted.