NCT’s Parents in Mind project provides safe, sensitive, impactful perinatal mental health peer support, delivered by local parent volunteers.

Peer supporters have lived experience of the challenges early parenthood can present and are passionate about making sure new parents don’t feel alone. Our volunteers undertake accredited training to provide a friendly listening ear, in one to one and group settings, online and face-to-face.

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The Parents in Mind project aims to:


value and prioritise parental wellbeing


reduce stigma around mental health issues


normalise difficult parenting experiences


build confidence & social connections


empower with info on other helpful services/signposting


support a more fulfilling relationship with baby

Find a Parents in Mind service

Bringing a baby into the world can be a joyous experience, but this transition might also present a number of challenges to a parent’s wellbeing. 

Connecting with others who have experienced similar – 1 to 1, or in a group - can make a huge difference. 

I found Parents in Mind when I was at my lowest. I was isolated, struggling with the pressures of having a newborn and battling anxiety and depression. Through the amazing work of the peer support volunteers and regular contact from the staff, I was able to move from one to one support and join a group. It was my ‘safe place’. A non-judgemental space that I could escape to once a week where there was a hot drink and an empathetic ear. It may not sound like much, but when you feel you can’t summon the energy to leave the house, it was a light to focus on each week.

Service user

This service was vital for me; I couldn’t even leave the house with my baby by myself. I was struggling with day to day life. The support I’ve been given is outstanding…I’ve felt cared for and supported the whole way.

Service user

Commission a Parents in Mind service

NCT Parents in Mind offers mental health peer support to those experiencing mild-moderate mental health difficulties during the perinatal period - i.e. pregnancy and the first 24 months following childbirth.

The service is delivered by parents, to parents. Parents in Mind volunteers undertake accredited peer support training (developed in consultation with the Institute of Health Visiting), to equip them to use their own previous lived experience of wellbeing difficulties as a new parent, in order to safely and effectively support someone who is struggling at the moment.

Support is delivered 1-1 and in groups, in person and online, in order to create a most inclusive and accessible offer to whole parenting community.  NCT can offer bespoke support for women and birthing people, and fathers and non-birthing partners. We are exploring specific support offers for parents who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Why does peer support work so well?

Peer support has been shown to lead to significant improvements in wellbeing, including improved quality of life, confidence, mental and physical health 

The early postnatal period can leave parents feeling that they are ‘uniquely failing’– caring for baby often seen as ‘natural’/‘intuitive’/‘innate’, leaving those struggling questioning their ability to parent

Shared experiences and backgrounds foster a non-judgemental environment

Side-by-side, ‘non-professional’ support disrupts normal service provider/user dynamic, breaking down barriers and encouraging parents to share vulnerabilities and open up to offers of support

Connection with others normalises challenges and the emotional difficulties that come with them

What are the outcomes?


feel they have someone to talk to who understands them


feel less lonely or isolated


feel better informed about where to get help


feel more confident about accessing services if they needed to

Statistically significant improvements to beneficiaries’ mental health scores are captured using a validated measure (HADS) (‘clinical caseness’ is indicated by a score over 7/21).

Average HADS score (entry):  Anxiety = 14, Depression = 11.6
Average HADS score (exit):  Anxiety = 8.5, Depression = 5.8

How it works

Parents in Mind cultivate productive referral pathways between itself and clinical, maternity and community partners, offering a useful step up from universal support, and a helpful step down from therapeutic intervention.

Clinical support can often be well complemented by social and emotional connections with other local parents and partner community services, to aid confidence and build resilience, with the family truly at the centre of joined up provision when pathways are integrated and cohesive. 

For volunteers
  • Lived experience of perinatal mental health difficulties/closely supported another who has
  • Undertake 21 hours of OCN accredited training
  • Receive safeguarding, GDPR training and enhanced DBS checks
  • Receive regular reflective and clinical support from a psychotherapist
  • Provide one-to-one and group-based support for parents in community settings, or via phone/structured WhatsApp/Zoom sessions
  • Offer local and national signposting and liaison with local PiM staff who will co-ordinate parallel/more suitable referrals where appropriate


For service users
  • Are referred by a health professional/self-refer
  • Are pregnant or have a child under two
  • Have a wide range of mental health difficulties and needs, but are experiencing a mild-moderate compromise to wellbeing due to the birth of a baby
  • Are actively keen to participate (attendance cannot be part of a compulsory plan)
  • Those supported by social services at L3/L4, or parents aged 16-17, will be supported on a case by case basis, dependent on case complexity.
  • Type/frequency/duration of support is flexible – online/face-to-face/1-1 & group support available
  • Reviewed every 8 weeks
  • Are signposted to other services alongside PiM where beneficial

Our current operational sites are funded by NHS ICBs, Public Health and the Family Hubs provision, where we are integrated and integral part of the local perinatal mental health pathway.

We provide anonymised quarterly reported data (qualitative and quantitive) to capture service performance and to identify progressive service improvement, partnership strengths and areas for development and local trends in parental need. 

To discuss support options and the possibility of commissioning Parents in Mind, please contact: