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Home-Start encourages mums to ask for help if they are struggling as part of a campaign during Maternal Mental Health Week

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A family support charity is encouraging mums to talk about their wellbeing and reach out for support if they need it as part of a campaign for Maternal Mental Health Week (May 2-8).

Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester is raising awareness among local mums to let them know that in addition to clinical services, vital peer support is available in their area through the charity’s network of confidential, trained volunteers.

Ri Ferrier, Director of Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester said: “For Maternal Mental Health Week we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help. There is still a real stigma around talking openly about parental mental health. We would love 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 we are ready to stand alongside families when they need us most with compassionate, non-judgemental support.”

Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester supports mums’ mental health with trained home-visiting volunteers and a range of activities including a perinatal mental health peer support programme (Mothers in Mind), antenatal and postnatal support groups and a family fun group in Nailsworth.

Alex Corgier, Perinatal Lead for Home-Start UK, said: “Home-Start takes a vital role of non-judgemental peer support in people’s home and through group support. This year’s theme of Maternal Mental Health Week is fitting as it is ‘The Power of Connections’. We know only too well how not being able to see family and friends has been difficult throughout the pandemic. Home-Start harnesses the power of human connection to support families facing mental health challenges in the perinatal period. The excellent support our staff and trained volunteers provide has an amazing impact on families – because we truly are stronger together.”

Alex continued: “We understand the value of face-to-face connections, especially for first time mums. Reaching out for support either to family and friends, a professional such as your midwife or health visitor, or getting in touch with a local community organisation such as Home-Start could be the first step to make a positive difference. The impact on families can be amazing – because we truly are stronger together. Meantime, we want to remind mums to remember they are brilliant, remind them to take breaks, remember self-care, know that parenting is tough and most of all remember that parenting is not always the picture-perfect lifestyle often portrayed on social media.”

A mum who was supported by Home-Start said: “Please don’t shy away from asking for help. We all have limits and it’s important to recognise them. Looking back, I probably had post-natal depression but didn’t realise it at the time. To me, Home-Start support was like taking the weight off your shoulders for a while, so you can be the parent you want to be. Without Home-Start I think I would have fallen into a deep depression, but I didn’t and that’s thanks to my volunteer.”

There are 182 Home-Starts across the UK providing compassionate support to local families who are facing a wide range of challenges including mental health, bereavement, isolation, multiple birth, domestic abuse, financial hardship or supporting a parent or child who have a disability or health issue. Once a family is matched, their trained volunteer visits once a week for two hours to support in a wide variety of ways that meet the individual needs of that family.

Maternal Mental Health Week, which is into its eighth year, is a campaign dedicated to talking about mental health problems during and after pregnancy. Link: https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/news/maternal-mental-health-awareness-week-2022/

More information can be found about Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester on their website: https://homestartsd.org/

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