Where to get help with your mental health

Having a baby is a big life event and a period of huge change and adjustment. Throughout pregnancy and after birth it is only natural to experience a range of emotions.

Everyone’s experience of having a baby is different, and your emotional health is as important as your physical health.

Pregnancy, birth and parenthood can all impact your emotional well-being. If you are also experiencing pelvic floor issues this may impact your mental health further.

It may be that you have existing mental health issues that have returned or worsened, or perhaps this is the first time you’ve struggled with your mental health. You may be feeling low or experiencing much stronger feelings of depression or anxiety.

You are not alone and, however you’re feeling, it’s important to reach out and speak to someone so you can receive the right support. You can do this by speaking with your healthcare professional – this may be your midwife, health visitor or GP – whoever you feel most comfortable talking to.

If your healthcare professional thinks you need more specialist help, they might refer you to the Perinatal Mental Health Team. This service provides care and support for women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth.

There are also many organisations and charities that you can contact directly who will support you.

Local organisations and charities who will support you

  • Mothers for Mothers is a charity run by mothers who have suffered and recovered from depression, anxiety or isolation during pregnancy or after the birth of their babies. They are women with experience who offer support, advice and information to mothers who are struggling with their mental health.
  • Black Mothers Matter offers antenatal and postnatal support for black women. Building networks, friendships and sources of reliable information.
  • Bristol Somali Resource Centre (BSRC) Mental Health and Wellbeing support and therapy for people of Somali origin and heritage.
  • MIND Bristol supports those with mental health issues and they have lots of information about maternal mental health.
  • Rockabye is a 10-12 week programme run by Family Support Workers in children’s centres.
  • Home Start Bristol offers free confidential support, friendship and practical help to parents in Bristol and South Gloucestershire who are going through a challenging time.
  • VitaMinds Bristol is your local NHS mental wellbeing support service. You can refer yourself for support including counselling.
  • Dads in Mind supporting Dads mental health.
  • Dadpad website has resources for Dads.

National organisations and charities who will support you

  • The Birth Trauma Association offer help and support to women who are struggling with their mental health as a result of their birth experience. Email support@birthtraumaassociation.org.uk for more information and support.
  • Maternal Mental Health Alliance aims to help all women get consistent, accessible, and quality care/support during pregnancy and during the 1 year postnatal period.
  • PANDAS supports parents with prenatal or postnatal depression, as well as other perinatal mental health challenges. Its helpline is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm.
  • MASIC Foundation supports women who have suffered serious injuries during childbirth.
  • Make Birth Better supports parents affected by birth trauma as well as professionals affected by vicarious trauma. Their email is staffed by mental health professionals (psychologists and a psychiatrist).
  • Bliss offers support for parents and families of premature and sick babies. You can request a video call if you prefer.
  • MASIC supports people who have experienced injuries as a result of birth.
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is run by the charity Refuge. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers free and confidential advice. A translation service is available if English is not your first language.
  • The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is available to anyone experiencing emotional distress.
  • You can contact SANDS if you need support after the death of a baby, whether it was recent or long ago.

Your GP or Health Visitor

You can also contact your GP or health visitor if you want support with your mental health. If you feel daunted by the prospect of speaking to a health professional about how birth trauma has affected you, the PANDAS website has some suggestions that may help.

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