Our Parents in Mind service: how it works

If you haven’t heard of our Parents in Mind service, we’ve put together a quick guide on how it started, and how a few years later, the support it provides parents is going strong.

Parents in Mind was established in 2016, after we identified an opportunity to help parents who were struggling with the transition to parenthood.

In consultation with the Institute of Health Visiting, we designed an accredited training programme for volunteer peer supporters, all of whom were mothers with lived experience of mental health difficulties in the perinatal period.

Parents in Mind first started running in Halton, St Helens & Warrington. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we quickly moved support online, and in turn began to reach a wider range of parents – dads and co-parents – to continue making a real difference to all parents in the community.

We continue to offer support in varying formats, tailoring it to each individual’s need and circumstance – telephone, one-to-one, virtual WhatsApp or Zoom sessions and also face-to-face group support.

As well as Halton, St Helens & Warrington, we now have Parents in Mind programmes running in Newham, Coventry & Warwickshire and East Sussex.

What we provide

“You’ve been the only service in a long time that has ever believed in me and I can’t thank you enough honestly. What you do is just life changing, you are worth the weight in gold! Thankyou.”

The focus of all support is on reducing the stigma around mental health difficulties, normalising feelings of anxiety, depression and unrest, reducing social isolation and taking strength from sharing stories with others who have felt a similar way.

It’s also about encouraging parents to access other services which might help them.

How it works

“The support this service gives is a life line to those who have no childcare or time to ‘get away’ – this gives me the safe space I need.”

Volunteers are asked to offer a minimum of two hours support weekly, for a minimum of twelve months after training. They receive clinical supervision to ensure they stay mentally healthy themselves.

Parents can be referred by local health care professionals, including midwives, health visitors, infant feeding support, GPs or specialist perinatal mental health teams. Parents and partners can also self-refer.

More information

Parents in Mind is available in Halton, St Helens & Warrington, in Newham, Coventry and Warwickshire, and East Sussex. See how you can get in touch.

We also run a Parents in Mind: Partners service to support partners and carers in the perinatal period. Read more about it.

If you’re a new parent, we have lots of groups and activities that you can take part in across the UK and Channel Islands. See what’s going on near you.