Bluebell Care Trust started by offering structured group programmes to new mums experiencing anxiety and depression. However, CEO Ruth Jackson, who has personal experience of perinatal illness, realised many needed ongoing support when these ended.
With the help of National Lottery funding, Bluebell Place opened in Bristol in October 2016. It is a welcoming hub for parents to drop-in for informal support when they need it. It offers workshops for new and expectant parents, led by staff and volunteers with lived experience of perinatal mental illness. These aim to increase recovery rates, wellbeing and confidence, while lessening isolation.
The project supported over 1,000 mums, dads and infants in 2017 and another 400 through outreach work. Women can drop in or be referred to Bluebell, with a service for Dads too, called Dads-In-Mind. The service has now expanded into Devon and South Gloucestershire.
Bluebell Care Trust CEO, Ruth Jackson, says: "With personal experience of pre- and postnatal depression and anxiety, I understand how difficult it can be to access the right support. When I recovered, I realised many mums – particularly young mums or those facing disadvantages - simply don’t get the same level of support as I did, and can suffer for months, or even years as a result. Bluebell is here to ensure this doesn’t happen."
Amy, 30, is mum to Zakk, five, and Odin, two. She suffered a difficult first birth leading to anxiety and depression.
"Without Bluebell, it would have taken me a lot longer to recover," says Amy.
"I felt like Amy again rather than just Mummy."
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