Mental health issues affect at least 1 in 10 women during pregnancy or early parenthood. Conditions include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and postpartum psychosis. Many women don’t get the support they need and suffer in silence, often until reaching crisis point. There is a very real stigma surrounding mental health issues, and many people find it incredibly difficult to be honest about how they’re feeling. The effects can be devastating for the whole family.

NCT has been successful in securing a grant from the Department of Health’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development fund to support a safe, effective and sustainable model of peer support to improve women’s mental health in pregnancy and early parenthood. The ‘Parents in Mind’ project will run across six NCT branches and Warwickshire Central and Coventry are the first branches to benefit from the funding.

The project draws on the skills and time of volunteers with personal experience of mental health or emotional difficulties in the ‘perinatal’ period who are now well and would like to offer valuable support to other women in their community. Peer supporters will provide an empathetic ear, a friendly and welcoming approach, and signposting services in groups specially set up for the project. There will also be some opportunity for one-to-one support for those women who require it.

Our first cohort of volunteers finished training in February and are now providing peer support in three locations: Coventry, Leamington and Warwick. The group times and locations aren’t being publically advertised as the groups are referral only but more information can be gained by contacting the Service Delivery Manager, Sarah. Women can self-refer or a professional can refer them into the service. For more information please visit: https://www.nct.org.uk/professional/parents-in-mind/parents-mind-coventry-warwickshire

Parents in Mind Peer Support training is accredited by the Open College Network and involves attending a 30 hour training course led by an NCT trainer. It covers three main areas of learning: Birth and Beyond (community support), Group Facilitation and Perinatal Mental Health and each area is taught through interactive exercises, developing skills in active listening and empathy. It has been a highly interesting and personal journey for the volunteers, many of whom learnt as much about themselves along the way as they have others.

We are now actively recruiting volunteers for our second training cohort. If you have lived experience of mental health or emotional difficulties in pregnancy/early motherhood and are now well and would be interested in supporting others then please get in touch. Training will run on a Thursday for 8 weeks starting in May.

Email: parentsinmind.wc@nct.org.uk

Call or text Sarah: 07885975261

 

Read our blog at: https://parentsinmind.wordpress.com/

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