Association of Mental Health Providers

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Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a seven-day campaign, organised by Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK, focused on discussing mental health concerns before, during, and after pregnancy. This year the theme is “rediscovering you”.

The Association of Mental Health Providers will highlight several of our members as part of our activities for the week to show the different impacts of childbirth and transitioning to motherhood on people’s mental health, ways you can cope, and most importantly the services you can turn to.

Our member, PANDAS, is a charity which aims ‘to be the UK’s most recognised and trusted support service for families and their networks who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression.’

Their goal is to ensure that no parent, family, or carer feels alone by offering a variety of support services to make sure that help is delivered in a way that is right for you. They believe that no one suffering any form of mental illness should feel like they’re on their own.

As part of our work for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we have teamed up with PANDAS, to highlight the incredible impact their support services have had on the people who have accessed them.

Here are just a few of their experiences…

“Before I found Pandas I felt overwhelmed and alone. My family live 4 hours away and my husband’s family were never any help. As soon as I contacted Pandas I felt heard. Meeting Lauren at the group was honestly the best thing to happen to me. She listened and she understood exactly what I was going through. She introduced me to the other mums attending. I can honestly say that this group is the most wonderful welcoming non judgemental place and I felt seen and heard for the first time since I’d been diagnosed with post natal depression. The fact that you can take your children eases the burden so much so you are able to drop in as and when suits. My kids love coming too and they have great activities for them. Through Pandas I have learned that I need to look after myself first otherwise I am no use to my family. I have joined a gym and at least 3 times a week make sure I go as that’s my time that I need to help me feel better. I also love the idea of learning crafts/hobbies that the group is introducing. I really look forward to the sessions and feel that I am now out the other side of my depression and able to help other mums who are in the position I was in. Pandas is an amazing service that has made a big difference to me and my family.”

From an anonymous group member from Glasgow


“Knowing that I could contact PANDAS for support was hugely comforting and reassuring at a really difficult time. On sending my initial email I received a response from Wendy, she was always very thorough in her reply, validating my feelings and signposting me to relevant services and resources. This has helped hugely in my recovery.  I have had support ongoing for over 1 year with Wendy. Being able to email PANDAS was really easy and accessible. I highly recommend it.”

From an anonymous email service user


“Rediscovering myself has meant so much to me and my family. I have been able to enjoy spending time with my kids with a little less mum guilt. My kids are able to relax and be kids. I’ve been able to make time for myself and rediscover my love for sewing which in turn helps clear my head.

Pandas has really supported me over the last few years in many ways. I always felt welcomed and never judged, no matter how dark a day I was having. Jacqueline was always able to see through the “yeah I’m fine” and gently dig a little deeper and by the time you left she’d built you back up again. She recognised when I was suffering from birth trauma and helped me prepare for a much more positive 2nd birth and an even better 3rd birth and helped my husband understand what I had been through and how anxious I was feeling. He was much better prepared and able to support me while in hospital and we were able to have open and honest conversations that we really needed to have but didn’t know where to start. I would never have felt so confident and in control without her help.

Pandas has had such a positive impact on my mental health. I have grown so much over the last few years. My husband and I are both now able to recognise when my mental health is taking a dip and take steps to improve things before it starts to spiral. I would never be where I am today without the support of pandas and it’s amazing to be in a place where I no longer rely on pandas, but it’s nice to always have it in the background for a bit of extra support when I need it.”

From an anonymous face-to-face group service user


“Pandas meetings are brilliant because they’re a constant in a world of quick fixes. So often, there’s a substantial waiting list for any support and, when you finally get to the top of that list, it’s only a handful of CBT sessions.

Pandas is there for you in your darkest times with a warm, welcoming hug, the reassurance that you’re not alone and a consistent drumbeat of support.

When traditional support systems such as families have stepped away Pandas is there.

When public health support systems, cut beyond the quick by government policy, struggle to offer any timely or substantive support Pandas is there.

Where you need a light at the end of the tunnels, Pandas is there.”

From Abigail a face-to-face support group service user


PANDAS offers free support services for all parents and their networks and/or carers. They also offer free peer support groups, email support, a WhatsApp support service, and helpline support 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm. As well as closed community social networking groups and education and courses that can be provided internally and externally to parents who need support with their mental health.

You can find out more about PANDAS and the support they provide on their website.

However, if you need urgent help or are worried about a loved one, call the emergency services on 999. There is also a range of support service options on our website.