Parent support: You are not alone
By Kerrie Hughes
Of the many parents I've spoken to in the past three years, I've noticed a common misconception that support isn't available to them, and a very real fear of the consequences of admitting they need help. It wasn't that long ago that I was one such parent, terrified to reach out for the help that, in the end, literally saved my life.
It might not feel like it, but reaching out for help is a true sign of strength. It's scary, trust me, I know, but there is an abundance of utterly wonderful people, charities and organisations out there who are ready and extremely willing to support you.
Below you'll find details of some very worthy said organisations, but I must stress this list is by no means comprehensive. It will be updated as I learn of other support services, so please get in touch with details of any I have missed.
Tommy's – Leading UK charity Tommy's funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth and provides pregnancy health information to parents. The Tommy's pregnancy information service includes includes a comprehensive website, a midwife-led Facebook page and an app for parents of premature babies.
NCT – The UK's largest parenting charity, NCT supports parents through the first 1,000 days, covering pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. The website offers a vast amount of information and classes on all things parenting, plus where to find extra support in a wide range of areas.
Mind – a leading mental health charity, provides information on a range of mental health topics including postnatal depression and has an infoline for support: 0300 123 3393.
#PNDHour – #PNDHour is an online peer support group that runs every Wednesday at 8pm via the Twitter account @PNDandMe. Anyone can join in to discuss topics about antenatal and postnatal depression, such as self-care, medication and seeking help.
Bluebell Care Trust – A local charity based in the South West of England, Bluebell provides innovative services to help families manage their
emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth.
Dads In Mind – Dad's In Mind is a service run by Bluebell Care Trust, which aims to address the often overlooked needs of new dads. Dad workers offer support to other men who feel they need support.
Open Space – This incredible postnatal support group is run by our very own resident psychotherapist Domini Barry. The 12-week course is free and limited to four women per course. This was the support group I attended after Rex was born and I cannot recommend it and Domini highly enough.
Home Start – Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times.
Gingerbread – Gingerbread provides information to help single parents support themselves and their family. The charity also runs programmes to equip single parents with the skills and opportunities to gain employment, and campaigns to reduce stigma against single parents.
Child Bereavement UK – This leading UK charity supports families and helps them rebuild their lives when a child grieves or a child dies.