Having worked in Perinatal Mental Health for 6 years and in between becoming a mumma myself, maternal mental health is a subject very close to me. Though my years of professional working for Family Action Perinatal Services across Leicestershire and Derbyshire, I have seen many mum's from all walks of life make their way to recovery following what they saw as the darkest time of their lives. Working in the UK and for the Australian Red Cross and now for a Health Service, I have supported women to acknowledge their feelings and educated them and their partners to understand what is happening and helped them in their road to recovery.

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What is Perinatal Mental Health?

Did you know 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads can experience Perinatal Mental Health difficulties. If these difficulties are not supported adequately, they can result in difficulties with bonding and attachment as well as relationship struggles. Having a baby can be the most exciting moment in many couples lives, however, for some it can be the most difficult time. Unfortunately, mental health still carries a lot of stigma with it and so many mothers stay silent in fear of feeling judged or feeling like a failure. Many couples do not know what help they can receive and where to seek early support to help their early parenting journeys. As part of the hypnobirthing course I deliver, I discuss the signs and symptoms of mild- moderate Perinatal Mental Health to educate my families to know what is happening and how to manage the feelings. 

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Understanding what your are experiencing and seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a sign of positive self reflection.

Sometimes it's OK to not be OK. Speak up and ask for help.

If you recognise any changes in mood in yourself, or your partner please seek support from the organisations below:

Speak to your medical professionals. If you are still pregnant, speak to your midwife about your emotions at your appointments. They are not just there to do your physical checks and baby check; they are there for your emotional support too. If appropriate you can be referred for more specialist support through the MINT clinic.

If you have had your baby, your midwife will be asking you at your postnatal checks in regards to your emotional well- being; again if you notice anything unusual about yourself please speak to them. You will have a 6 week check for you and baby with your GP and Health Visitor, where they will again ask you in regards to your emotional well- being. Please be honest about how you are feeling so they can help you appropriately.

If you are worried about medication and the effects, there are safe ones to take during pregnancy/ breastfeeding but please speak to your GP in regards to this so they can advise in accordance to your medical history.

Alternatively, have a look at NHS Every Mind Matters. They have some useful Apps and information if you are caring for someone with mental health.

Mum's Mind is a text service from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. For support please text: 07507 330 026

Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. You can complete an online self referral for Leicester City or Leicester County & Rutland. Please bear in mind there can be a waiting time to be seen.

Anxiety UK supports those who are living with anxiety. Call 03444 775 774.

Family Lives provides information for parents and children. Call 0808 800 2222.

Home- start Horizons provides support for mums in the post- natal period. Call 0116 279 5062.

Mind Charity provides information and signposting. Call 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am- 6pm) or text 86463. They also have a sister website Elefriends.

No Panic provides programmes and supports those with anxiety. Call 0844 967 4848.

NSPCC supports your during pregnancy and post birth. Call 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

Open PAWS provides perinatal anxiety support through tools and techniques.

PANDAS Foundation provides information and support for anyone experiencing perinatal mental health.

Postpartum Men provides information and support for men experiencing perinatal mental health.

Royal College of General Practitioners provides information for you and your family.

Rethink Mental Illness advice service, Monday- Friday, 9.30am- 4pm. Call 0300 5000 927.

Samaritans. Call 116 123 for free 27/4 or email jo@samartians.org for a response within 24 hours.

SANEline supports those affected by mental health as well as their families, 4.30pm- 10.30pm every day of the year. Call 0300 304 7000.

The Association for Post Natal Illness. Call 020 7386 0868.

 

Turning Point Crisis Support. Call 0808 800 3302.

If your feel your mental health is suddenly deteriorating please contact 999.