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Bluebell Care Trust

Innovating in perinatal mental illness support

Bluebell provides support for families affected by perinatal mental illness, through a range of community services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and South Devon. Two in ten women experience a mental health problem during pregnancy and in the year following birth, yet over 75 per cent of these do not get diagnosed and receive adequate treatment and support. New research shows that one in 20 fathers also experience pregnancy-related depression.

Bluebell imageAll require a holistic range of quality and accessible care, to help improve family relationships and long-term outcomes for their children. But support for perinatal mental health has been traditionally hard to access due to stigma and isolation and NSPCC research shows that half of parents don’t ask for help due to fear of the consequences. Too often, mental health is only addressed when it reaches crisis stage.

Bluebell provides support for families affected by perinatal mental illness, through a range of community services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and South Devon. In Bristol the charity felt there was a particular gap in provision, and an innovative city centre hub, Bluebell Place, opened in September 2016. The centre offers a weekly programme of creative and therapeutic wellbeing activities, as well as a unique community outreach service providing peer-led “buddy” support and group programmes for mums, dads, partners and infants.

It has already supported 1,000 families, and Bluebell has now assisted over 2,000 parents in total since it was formed in 2011. Results from parent feedback questionnaires state that 95 per cent are very or satisfied with their care from Bluebell, and other analysis shows a significant decrease in levels of anxiety and depression experienced by all parents compared to when they started accessing its services. All service users have said that Bluebell was able to support them either very or well. The charity aims to maintain these outcomes and improvements going forward with the ongoing delivery of comfort zone groups and workshops.

bluebellcare.org

CC reg no: 1136818

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