This page of resources was curated to highlight UK-based services and, while it provides informative reading for those who live elsewhere, it doesn’t take into account services offered outside of the UK. *If you have a genuine emergency dial 999 (in the UK)*
Spot anything we’ve missed? Please send us a message!
If you are experiencing a problem with your mental health your GP should be the first professional you reach out to. They are able to prescribe medication and refer more serious cases to secondary services (like a mother and baby unit or adult mental health services). They are also knowledgeable about what other options might be available to you. Occasionally though, this contact doesn’t go exactly the way that you need or want it to. Here are some suggestions to help ensure you get the help you deserve:
- When reaching out to your GP, start with someone who you have a relationship with or who has a special interest in women’s health or postnatal checks. The receptionist should be able to tell you this (in person or over the phone, whatever makes you most comfortable), or you may be able to find it out via the surgery website. It is always your right to ask for a second opinion. If you don’t get what you need from the first GP you speak to, you can make another appointment with someone else.
- Bring someone, like a close family member or friend, along for reassurance if you’re nervous. They can also act like an advocate, and speak on your behalf.
- You can self-refer to talking therapies via the NHS. Pickup a leaflet from your GP surgery or do a Google search.
- Contact a helpline or registered charity. Examples include Bluebells, Pandas and Cocoon Family Support.
- It is also a good idea to find a good fit with your talking therapist, and it’s ok to ‘shop around’ and find someone that you’re comfortable with.
*The MIND website has some great information regarding seeking help, including ‘how to make yourself heard’. There is also more information within the Motherhood and Mental Health: a resource, reflection and my personal story ebook.
SANE (for emotional support, information and guidance for people living with mental illness, their families and carers): Call 0300 304 7000
YoungMinds (information for parents and carers on child and adolscent mental health): Call 0808 802 5544
CALM: Call 0800 58 58 58
PANDAS (pre and postnatal mental illness)
Everyone’s Business (maternal mental health specific)
Bipolar UK (for manic depression or bipolar disorder)
Anxiety UK (for anxiety conditions)
Hub of Hope – enter your post code to find nearby services
Bluebells (Bristol and Devon based support for families living with perinatal anxiety and depression)
This is another good resource for anxiety. It is American so bear that in mind regarding statistics but there is a great deal of other useful, relevant information provided.
Men have mental health too. Many of the above organisations work with both men and women (or whole families), however here are some additional resources exclusively for men:
Brothers in Arms (Scotland-based)
This is a fantastic page regarding the mental health of fathers.
Resources specifically for the BAME community:
Prosperitys offers practical and emotional support in Southwark and Lambeth for BAME pregnant women.
Sometimes it helps just to know that you aren’t alone, that others are going through what you are – or have already experienced and survived it…
Social media can be a positive force, if used in a healthy way. In my own experience, it provided essential peer support during a time when I was desperately craving camaraderie and understanding but had no idea how to find it. I now know that face-to-face or virtual peer support is offered as a service through various outlets – ask your health visitor, GP or mental health professional, or enquire via one of the helplines or websites listed above.
I have found many inspiring women through Instagram. Women who are honestly telling their own stories, as well as filling the (care + service) gaps in really powerful ways. I’ll list some of my favourite accounts below, in no particular order. If you know someone who is feeling alone in their struggles, it might be worth suggesting they check one of these accounts out.
Motherdom (previously via @motherdom_mag)
**Please remember that while social media can be used for good, managing your experience requires mindful and consisent consideration. It’s easy to develop bad or even harmful habits and so it’s best to carefully consider how and why you use it. Ocassional to frequent social media breaks have become increasingly popular as a tool to retain perspective. Here is a great article on how to have a healthy relationship with social media.