Do you believe that every family deserves support with the effects of mental illness? We do.
Discover how we help families with young children suffering from the effects of mental illness in Bedfordshire.
Tara, a new mother, had a variety of mental health issues following the birth of her daughter Abigail. Her anxiety kept her housebound and left her feeling isolated. Seeing Tara was struggling to cope, her Health Visitor referred her to Home-Start for help.
“I started with my volunteer after being referred by my Health Visitor because I was struggling. I wasn’t bonding with my new baby girl and I also found out I was suffering from depression and anxiety. She came and helped me with anything I needed doing like having a wash, tidying up at home, getting organised. Helping to bond with the kids and gain confidence as a parent and with going out as I couldn’t with my anxiety. She helped me to eventually leave my house to go to a play group with my children which I know they loved.
Her support has been really helpful for both me and my husband. If I didn’t have her I wouldn’t have been able to cope a lot better with the kids on my own and leave home.”
With the help and support of volunteer Suzanne, Tara’s mental health began to improve. For the first time in a while Tara felt positive and could see hope for the future.
“I felt like I learned a lot from her about how to be a mum and that no one’s perfect and my best is good enough. That it’s ok to struggle and breakdown but still find the strength to carry on. I am still struggling but I’m aware that there’s hope and I feel more able so I shouldn’t quit. Since she’s left I’m a lot more aware of things so I don’t panic as much. I can go out.”
The effects of mental illness are wide-ranging. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems during pregnancy, with around 12% of women experiencing depression and 13% experiencing anxiety at some point; some women may experience both. Depression and anxiety can also affect around 15-20% of women in the first year after childbirth. – National Institute For Health & Care Excellence.
In the April 2016 – April 2017 period, the main reason for families asking for our support was for coping with mental ill health. As well as our home visiting support service, our charity runs support groups for those suffering from the effects of mental illness. More specifically, our current groups are for women suffering from depression and anxiety with an emphasis on postnatal depression.
Sadly our popular Great Expectations Groups closed this year due to funding cuts. However, we were very pleased to recently be able to restart the group in Dunstable. The group now renamed Brighter Start is for women affected by depression and anxiety. We have a skilled facilitator at the group, providing a friendly environment where women can support each other and also learn strategies to cope.