Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a week-long campaign (2nd – 8th May) dedicated to talking about mental health challenges during and after pregnancy.
At Home-Start, we support mothers-to-be and new mums at a time when things can sometimes seem overwhelming and challenging. Motherhood can be great, but many mums can also feel anxious, isolated, and unable to see a clear way ahead.
Fully-trained Home-Start volunteers can spend time with new mums in their home, helping them to adjust to their new life. They can support them to regain their confidence and empower them to build their own support networks. Our volunteers are often parents themselves, or have experience of working with families or children. ALL of them believe in the power or confidential, non-judgmental support.
This support can often bridge the gap between clinical care and going out into the wider world for the first time with your baby. As one Home-Start mum said:
“It seems that a lot of medical care for mental health is focused on helping people once they reach crisis point. I think Home-Start helps prevent people reaching that point.”
Guljabeen Rahman, CEO for Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow, said: “For Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help. There can be a stigma around speaking out and saying that parenting is tough. We want to encourage mums who are finding things difficult to take the brave decision to reach out for support.
Parenting is hard. It can be wonderful, but it can also be lonely and frustrating. That is why Home-Start is ready to stand alongside families when they need us most with compassionate, non-judgmental support.”
This year, the theme for the week is #ThePowerOfConnection which is so important in those early days. Home-Start harnesses #ThePowerOfConnection to support families at the start of their parenting journey. We know we are truly stronger together. Together, we can work to decrease the chances of mothers (and fathers) suffering from adverse mental health during their perinatal period. Together, we can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and we can build communities amongst parents so that they can offer one another peer-to-peer support.
We know that:
- 1 in 5 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year of having a baby
- 7 in 10 women will hide or downplay the severity of their perinatal mental illness
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and one year after birth
- The number of men who become depressed in the first year after becoming a father is double that of the general population
- 1 in 500 new mums will experience Postpartum Psychosis
Home-Start wants to be there to support mothers and families so that we can be part of eradicating these figures.
If you need support, please do not struggle alone. Home-Start is here and we welcome self-referrals.
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is organised by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK). Visit their site for more information, advice and events.