With all the news and developments around Covid-19 (Coronavirus) recently, we appreciate this is a stressful time for everyone. If you are expecting a baby or looking after a young child, you may be feeling particularly worried and anxious.
It is really important that you make sure you look after your own mental health and wellbeing, especially if you are isolating yourself from your friends and family. Having support around you is particularly important when you or your partner are pregnant or have a young baby, so think about who you can talk to if you feel that you are not coping well.
Some things that you might consider doing to support your mental health are:
- Discuss any worries with your midwife or health visitor. Look for relevant contact details in your maternity notes or your baby’s red book.
- If you are already under the care of a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwife, Specialist Health Visitor or a mental health worker you can get in touch to discuss your situation.
- You may find it helpful to try self-help resources such as apps, websites and books. See the resources provided below for more information.
- You may wish to join an online support group for expectant and new parents, or one that is specifically for people with mental health needs via social media. See the resources provided below for more information.
It is important that you follow the most recent advice around keeping you and your family safe and continue to make decisions that are right for your family. The latest advice from the UK Government is available online.
If you have appointments with midwives, health visitors, doctors or mental health support, it is important to keep up with these. Some of these may now be offered as telephone calls rather than face-to-face. If you are worried about attending appointments in person, or unsure if these are going ahead, contact your provider to get the latest update. The Royal College of Midwives website has a list of FAQs that you may find useful.
If you are worried about your mental health, you can get in touch with a health professional such as your usual GP, midwife, health visitor or mental health worker.
If you or someone you are concerned about are experiencing a mental health crisis, feeling despairing or suicidal, there are services you can approach:
- LSCFT (provider of NHS mental health services in Lancashire and South Cumbria)
- Accident and Emergency at your local hospital
- Emergency services, ambulance, tel: 999
- Samaritans tel: 116 123 (free to call and will not appear on the phone bill)
Useful phone numbers in Lancashire and South Cumbria:
- Phone numbers for all Home Treatment Teams in Lancashire and South Cumbria are available online.
- Phone numbers for all Specialist Triage, Assessment and Referral teams (START) in Lancashire and South Cumbria are available online.
- Health visitor services:
- South Cumbria: 01539 718155
- Lancashire (Virgincare): 03002470040
- Blackburn with Darwen: 01254 585000
- Blackpool: contact your local team (check your child’s red book)
Useful online information and telephone support resources:
- The Maternal Mental Health Alliance has information and links on supporting perinatal mental health during the COVID-19 crisis available online.
- PANDAS (Pre And PostNatal Depression Advice and Support) www.pandasfoundation.org.uk 0808 1961 776 (Free). A Facebook page is also available offering inspiration, motivation and news and they also run a Facebook support group specifically for fathers.
- Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It is a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help via text message.
- SANEline is a national out-of-hours telephone helpline (0300 304 7000) offering emotional support and information for people affected by mental health problems.
- APP Network provide support to women and families affected by post partum psychosis and offer online peer support forums.
- Refuge support women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. They provide a freephone 24 hour helpline: 0808 2000 247 and provide information relating to COVID-19.
Resources for self-help:
- Mind have lots of free self-help activities available, as well as tools for coping with the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and self-isolation.
- The NHS Apps Library has a list of Mental Health apps.
- NHS Audio Guide on stress, anxiety and depression.