Home Start Portsmouth wants local mothers to know they are not alone and that in addition to its clinical services, they can provide vital peer support through the charity’s network of confidential, trained volunteers.
The group supports parents’ mental health with trained home-visiting volunteers and a range of activities including their free stay and play parent baby sessions and a nurturing support programme, promoting healthy relationships within the home.
Natasha Solanki, communications manager for Home Start Portsmouth, said: ‘For Maternal Mental Health Week (May 2 to 8) we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help.
‘There is still a real stigma around talking openly about parental mental health.
‘We would love to encourage mums who are finding things difficult to take the brave decision to reach out for support. 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 is ready to stand alongside families when they need us most with compassionate, non-judgemental support.’
A city mum who was supported by Home Start, but did not wish to be named, added: ‘Please don’t shy away from asking for help. We all have limits and it’s important to recognise them. Looking back I probably had post-natal depression but didn’t realise it at the time.
‘To me, Home Start support was like taking the weight off your shoulders for a while, so you can be the parent you want to be. Without Home Start I think I would have fallen into a deep depression, but I didn’t and that’s thanks to my volunteer.’
There are 182 Home Starts across the UK providing compassionate support to local families who are facing a wide range of challenges including mental health, bereavement, isolation, multiple birth, domestic abuse, financial hardship or supporting a parent or child who have a disability or health issue.
To find out how to access support from Home Start Portsmouth visit hsportsmouth.org.uk.