Hackney mums needed to volunteer to help beat maternal depression

Hackney mums are being asked to befriend depressed pregnant woman and mothers, to help combat perinatal depression.

The Perinatal Support Project, run by Haggerston charity Family Action, is designed to address issues of maternal mental distress and depression that can be experienced by women both during and after a pregnancy.

The term ‘perinatal’ refers to the time around a baby’s birth.

The aim is to improve the mental health of pregnant women and mothers of children under one, enabling them bond and enjoy healthier emotional relationships.

Volunteers, who understand the loneliness and worries that sometimes come with a new baby, befriend vulnerable and isolated pregnant women.

Drawing on their own experience, they can give them hope before and after the birth and provide them with a useful person to talk to when things feel overwhelming.

Saddaf Aslam, perinatal support coordinator said: “We can’t provide this service without volunteers.

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“Those who have experienced childbirth and bring up children have such a lot of hope to offer to new mums and between them they can have a big impact on postnatal depression and child development.”

A study from mental health charity Mind, estimated one in six pregnant women are affected by mental distress.

Based on the 2009 birth rates, this means up to 762 children in the Hackney area may be born to a mother who suffers from postnatal depression.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the project also provides volunteers with valuable training, giving them skills that can be used in future paid employment.

Based in Arbutus Street, Family Action works to address complex issues facing families today- including financial hardship, domestic abuse, mental health problems, learning disabilities and substance misuse.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Saddaf Aslam on 020 7249 8109.