Portsmouth-based family support charity encouraging mums to talk about wellbeing

A Portsmouth family support charity is encouraging mums to talk about their wellbeing as part of a campaign for Maternal Mental Health Week (May 1-7).
The Home-Start Portsmouth teamThe Home-Start Portsmouth team
The Home-Start Portsmouth team

Home-Start Portsmouth is raising awareness to let mums know that in addition to clinical services, vital peer support is available through the charity’s network of trained volunteers.

Amy Baines, Operations Manager, of Home-Start Portsmouth, said: ‘We are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help. There’s still a real stigma around speaking out and saying that parenting is tough.

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‘We would love to encourage mums who are finding things difficult to take the brave decision to reach out for support.

‘Parenting is hard. It can be wonderful, but it can also be lonely and frustrating. That is why Home-Start Portsmouth ensures that its services meet the needs of local families by helping parents to navigate some of the practical and emotional aspects of early parenting which can include mental health challenges.’

Perinatal and Infant mental health training has been developed by Home-Start UK for their staff teams and volunteers to better support families. The project, called Connecting from the Start, has been rolled out over the last 12 months, ensuring all local Home-Starts have access to the training.

Alex Corgier, Perinatal Lead for Home-Start UK, explained: ‘The project has allowed us to develop and promote the vital role our staff and volunteers play in supporting the social and emotional development of children in their earliest years of life.

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‘Over 1,000 staff and volunteers have accessed this specialist training so far. Home-Start support is nurturing, non-judgemental and helps parents to connect with their local community and not feel alone.

‘This year’s theme of Maternal Mental Health Week is Together in a Changing World. Becoming a new parent is a massive life transition and, joyful as it is to welcome a baby into the world, it can also be a huge challenge.

‘ It is now estimated that one in five women and one in ten men develop mental health challenges during pregnancy or the first year of a baby’s life.

‘Trained Home-Start volunteers are matched to parents to support them in these early days of parenthood offering encouragement, practical support and a listening ear.

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‘Reaching out for support either to family and friends, a professional such as your midwife or health visitor, or getting in touch with a local community organisation such as Home-Start could be the first step to making a positive difference.

‘In the meantime, we want to remind mums to remember they are brilliant, remind them to take breaks, remember self-care, know that parenting is tough and most of all remember that parenting is not always the picture perfect lifestyle often portrayed on social media.

‘If you need support, reach out for it!”

Home-Start Portsmouth also supports mums’ mental health with a range of activities including free Stay & Play groups.

To find out more,, visit https://www.hsportsmouth.org.uk

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