Mum-to-mum support improves mental wellbeing

Research has shown that mums who are able to talk to other mums who have also experienced mental health issues, show significant reductions in anxiety and depression

There’s nothing like talking to other mums going through the same daily struggles to make you feel less alone. Now, research carried out by NCT and City, University of London has backed this up.

86% felt the programme helped them feel less isolated

It showed that mums experiencing emotional difficulties showed significant improvements in their mental health and wellbeing when they were supported by their peers.

Mums showed a significant reduction in anxiety and depression, and said they felt less isolated, when they had a chance to talk to other mums who knew what they were going through.

Parents in Mind

The research was carried out through NCT’s Parents in Mind peer support programme. This gives mums who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mild to moderate mental illness during or after pregnancy access to other mums who have experienced similar mental health issues.

Women in need of support can be referred by a health professional, such as a midwife, GP, or health visitor, or they can self-refer. So far, nearly 200 new and expectant mums have been supported by 77 trained volunteer mums, in three areas of the UK.

Researchers at City, University of London found that the initiative reduced anxiety scores from clinically significant to mild. Depression scores were reduced from mild to normal.

An important support network

NCT runs another peer support scheme, the Birth and Beyond Community Supporters programme, which has so far supported 256 mothers. The project helps vulnerable women and families. Find out more here.

Lauren Fox, a mum who was supported by a Parents in Mind volunteer, said: “Finding other mothers who felt how I felt was a huge relief.

“Peer support made what I was going through seem a lot more normal. It stopped me from feeling ashamed, as though I had to hide it.”

Dr Agnes Hann, research manager at NCT, added: “We’ve seen that parent-to-parent support during pregnancy and in early parenthood has the potential to improve mental health and wellbeing, reduce loneliness and isolation and increase use of local services.”

Further information

If you’d like to get support from, or train for, Parents in Mind, find out more about the programme.

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