Our grant from the Pixel fund will help us to support teenage & young mothers with mental health problems during pregnancy & in the first year following birth. Young parents are 3 times more likely to experience difficulties (Public Health England 2016); dealing with feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
Our Bluebell Buddy service provides informal support either at home or in a local community setting for younger mums and dads who find accessing a group very hard for reasons such as lack of confidence or difficulty leaving the house.
Our Buddies have personal lived experience and provide a one-to-one peer support service. Bluebell Buddies are trained, which in addition to their personal experience of pre or post-natal depression, provides a unique, holistic, home based, specialist support service to mothers and families. The Bluebell Buddy role is a paid one and many of the Buddies are parents who have previously accessed Bluebells’ services and are now trained to support others.
The support that is offered includes: family support, advice, advocacy, listening and signposting to other sources of support and practical help.
We see higher levels of need for our services from younger parents living in more disadvantaged communities because their socio-economic circumstances contribute to their perinatal mental health difficulties. A combination of disadvantage such as poor housing, lack of housing, lack of employment and financial pressure, means that young families who are out of work, are lone parents or those experiencing domestic abuse & crime are most likely to need our support.
We find that by providing a one-to-one ‘Buddy’ service we are able to develop a trusting relationship with a mother over a period of weeks, after which she may then feel confident enough to access a group programme where she can meet other mothers and build up a social network.
Some mothers experience barriers to attending our group programme due to difficulty leaving the house, older siblings at home, lack of transport or money, as well as some BME communities struggling with cultural expectations and stigma.
Bluebell Buddies provide a lifeline for these young parents who are often highly isolated, with very little support from friends or family.
On Behalf of the Bluebell Care Trust