Rachael Campey, a young mum from Leeds is backing NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) support for World Mental Health Day (10 October) by calling on young parents to seek support should they experience any emotional health issues.
Having a baby can bring a range of emotions like joy, stress and feeling overwhelmed. However, research shows that young parents could be more at risk of experiencing mental health problems.
Rachael, 20, who is in her third year at university, fell pregnant at the age of 14 and gave birth at 15, said: “When I fell pregnant I was under a lot of stress, as I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after I had my baby as my education was quite important to me. I was lucky enough to have my family as my support system and my midwife was also very supportive which really helped me. My aunty is also a midwife and she kept reassuring me that everything would be OK, which again helped me get through my pregnancy and build my confidence.
“I wasn’t so sure what support was available in Leeds for young parents; my family and my midwife were my support networks. However, when I got involved with work on the perinatal mental health pathway (designed to bring together the support which is available during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth), I found there’s a lot of support available to young parents and I knew I wasn’t alone in this journey.
“I would definitely encourage young parents to speak to their family and friends, your midwife and to find out more about the support which you can get by looking at https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/baby . I’m also an ambassador for MindMate (www.mindmate.org.uk), a website which provides mental health and emotional wellbeing advice and information to young people across Leeds, and I’m currently working with other young parents (under 25-year-olds) to write about our experiences.”
“There’s also a lot of teen mum groups on Facebook, become part of them and see if there’s any in your local area and see what common issues there are. I’m part of BBC family and it’s specifically for mothers aged under 25, they post different discussion topics which I found really useful, because I don’t have any young mum friends. World Mental Health Day is great way of reminding people of what support is available across the city.”
Dr Jane Mischenko, Lead Commissioner for Children and Maternity at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “For World Mental Health Day we want young parents to know what support is available for them and they don’t need to feel that they’re alone.
“Being a parent is one of the most important jobs there is, you’re responsible for your baby’s future. For younger parents there can be additional social pressures as well as more stress because of financial issues and feeling isolated.
“There’s so much support available, asking for help doesn’t make you a bad parent. Speaking to people that are close to you can help and speak to a healthcare professional like your midwife, GP or health visitor who will tell you what support is available across the city. I would encourage parents to watch the short animation, where new mums from Leeds talk about how they’ve struggled with their emotions during pregnancy and after birth.”
Notes to editors
Leeds perinatal mental health pathway
You’re not alone – animation
Mums from Leeds share their stories around how they felt during and after pregnancy, and how important it is to talk to someone https://youtu.be/qihrDwhR9v8
MindWell website – information about perinatal mental health
This website has a wealth of information around perinatal mental health, which women in Leeds can access https://www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/i-m-looking-for-myself/why-am-i-feeling-unwell/pregnant-or-new-parent
Women in Leeds have also shared their stories about being pregnant or a new parent and what a difficult time it can be emotionally. These stories are a way of reaching out to others who may be struggling http://www.inkwellarts.org.uk/baby/
MindMate is a dedicated mental health and emotional wellbeing website (https://www.mindmate.org.uk/) in Leeds for young people (age 12 – 25), parents and professionals who work with young people.
Research shows that young parents could be more at risk of experiencing mental health problems – this can be found on Youthspace, please visit http://www.youthspace.me/help_and_advice/534_young_parents
BBC Family News Teen Parents Group
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