When you come to terms with the idea that you have postnatal depression (PND) or something similar, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is who is going to help me? I’m not talking about what treatment is available, but rather who you can speak to about your options.
Midwife, health visitor or doctor.
This should be your first port of call. Because postnatal mental health issues tend to appear within the first few months of your baby being born, you should still be in contact with a midwife or health visitor. Head down to your local family center and find someone to speak to, or phone up your health visitor/midwife and arrange an appointment for them to pop over and have a chat. If you can’t get in contact with either of these, then the next thing to do is phone your GP and make an appointment with them.
Helpline: 0300 123 3393
Mind is a charity which supports mental health. Their website offers a lot of information on postnatal mental health, along with local support groups. You might find that there is a support group at your local family center, or at least a Mind worker in the area who could have a face to face chat with you. Alternatively, you can phone their helpline and speak to someone directly.
Helpline: 0843 2898401
PANDAS is a support service for families which are experiencing prenatal and postnatal illness. They have a helpline, email support, local support groups, an online community, and they even have a Facebook page specifically for Dads.
Helpline: 0207 386 0868
APNI is the Association for Post Natal Illness. As soon as you load up their website (on PC), a little live chat pops up in the corner of the screen. This makes it easy to speak to someone if you have any immediate questions and don’t know where to start, and they also have multiple leaflets on postnatal mental health issues for those suffering and for their carers. APNI’s aim is to increase public awareness of postnatal illness, and encourage research in the field.
Other online resources
There are many different websites, forums and groups online that can help you with all sorts of parenting and mental health questions you may have. BabyCenter (UK) and Mumsnet are two of the most popular ones, and you’ll find a multitude of parenting groups on Facebook. If you decide you want to go down the counselling route, a quick online search will bring up plenty of websites that hold information on counsellors in your area. Two such sites are Counselling Directory and It’s Good To Talk.
I have a Links page on this blog, which you can find on the top menu or by clicking here. The Links page will give you a longer list of websites and contacts which will help you to answer your questions and find the right help you need.