Support for new parents in Leeds
- Best Start Peer Support Project offers a free course (with creche) to people who live in South or East Leeds. If you're a parent/carer of children under the age of two this project can help you to cope better and meet other new parents/carers so you can support each other. The course runs for two hours per week for six weeks. At the end of the course there are opportunities to join in with future Best Start Peer Support groups, events and new projects. You can find out where and when courses will be running and complete a referral form on the website. You can also ring either of the organisations who run the project to find out more: Touchstone 0113 271 8277 or Women's Health Matters 0113 276 2851.
- Children's Centres run groups where you can meet other new parents and share experiences. They also run the Incredible Babies group (a six session course to support parents learn to understand their baby's needs), Baby Massage and Stay and Play sessions. If you are feeling low you may feel anxious about going to a group. You can ring the Children's Centre and explain your worries so they can support you. Click here to find your nearest Children's Centre.
- Gingerbread provides expert advice and practical support to single parents. Call the free helpline on 0808 802 0925 or join a friendship group.
- Home-Start is a family support charity that helps families with young children deal with the challenges they face. Home-Start volunteers support families struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement and many other problems. Homes-Start also run groups for friendship and support - find out more about Home-Start Leeds or call 0113 244 2419.
- Yums is group support for young mothers (under 25 years old) in South Leeds run by Women's Health Matters.
- Mummy Buddy is a community that has a Leeds hub, offering the Mummy Buddy Programme, with support from other mums, a monthly social 'Knees Up', small buddy groups of 6-8 mums and more coming soon. You can find out how to join and read more details on their website.
- Wave is a parent peer support group based in North Leeds. The group is for mums, but they support all parents, whether struggling with mental illness, or just going through a hard time. They meet weekly on Friday mornings - see their website for details.
- A Home-Start volunteer can visit you in your home and offer their support, friendship and practical help (such as help to attend appointments or do the shopping). They can also listen and encourage. Some of the volunteers have personal experience of mental health difficulties. You can phone Home-Start to find out more at 0113 244 2419, or find more info here.
- Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service offers support and psychological therapies for common mental health problems like anxiety, stress and low moods. You can self-refer through the service website. The service gives priority to women who are pregnant or in the first year after the birth of their baby. This means that you don't have to join the general waiting list, however, as this is not a crisis service there is usually a short wait. This service is open to anyone over 17 years old in Leeds so it's also available for partners or other family members.
- Early Start Counselling (run by the charity Northpoint and funded by Leeds City Council) is available for anyone in the Leeds area who is pregnant (or whose partner is pregnant) or is a parent or carer of a child under the age of five. Appointments are held in local Children's Centres. You can ask a health professional to refer you or you can find contacts to refer yourself here.
- If you are struggling with breastfeeding there is support available either in groups or you could get support from a breastfeeding counsellor (someone who has breastfed themselves and had training to support others). More info here.
- The Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Team offers one-to-one support to help young people develop as parents
- Forget me not child is a dedicated service just for families whose baby has been diagnosed with a life-shortening condition. So even before your baby is welcomed into the world, this service is here to support you if you discover there's a problem, and can provide emotional and practical support. Call on 01484 411040 or email care@forgetmenotchild.
Support for more serious mental health difficulties
If you experience more serious mental health problems during your pregnancy or after you have had your baby your midwife, health visitor and GP will work with you to decide which service is best placed to support you.
If you are diagnosed with an issue like postnatal depression or any other mental health problem, it does not mean that your baby will be taken into care, in fact, health professionals will do everything they can to support you to get better and to bond with your baby if that is something that you are struggling with.
- The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwifery Service provides midwife support to women experiencing serious mental health issues. This means that women can be supported by the same midwife, who has extra training and experience in supporting people with mental health difficulties, throughout their pregnancy. They can also visit women experiencing moderate or severe mental health difficulties in the first month after baby is born.
- Women's Counselling and Therapy Service (WCTS) offers specialist services for new mothers who have a baby under one year old to support them in managing their emotional wellbeing. Open to referrals as part of Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service.
- If you are struggling to bond with your baby then you may be referred to the Infant Mental Health Team. This service offers a variety of support to families around building a bond with the baby.
- The Leeds Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team is a mental health service that supports some women with serious mental health problems in late pregnancy and in the baby's first year. They provide intensive care and support through a team of mental health nurses, psychiatrists and support workers. They run the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit at the The Mount, 44 Hyde Terrace, for women with more serious problems who need 24 hour care and support. This is different from a general mental health ward as it means that the baby can stay on the ward with the mother rather than being separated. Watch this video about inpatient care at the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit.
- If you are a new mum under the age of 18 and have serious mental health difficulties, you may be referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). More information about emotional health support for young people is available at MindMate