Fern Britton speaks out about maternal mental health for Sport Relief
February 22nd 2016
Fern Britton will share her experience of maternal mental health alongside other mums and dads from across the UK.
The TV presenter has taken part in a series of new short films produced by Sport Relief, to shine a light on maternal mental illness in the UK and help to reduce stigma around the issue.
The films will be shared on Sport Relief’s Twitter feed on Wednesday 24th February and the public will be encouraged to share their own experiences. Members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, which benefits from Sport Relief cash, will be responding during the day to any people looking for advice or support.
By following @SportRelief the nation will gain a unique insight into an issue that affects as many as 1 in 10 women yet is still often not talked about openly. Many women feel completely alone and too embarrassed to share their true feelings, with 7 in 10 women affected hiding or downplaying their symptoms.
“Everyone tells you that having a baby is going to be perfect, so you try to be the perfect mum,” Fern says. “However, you're not blooming at all, you're blooming awful. I was lonely, isolated and frightened. I felt lost, like a failure and I couldn't identify with who I was anymore. When the doctor told me what I was feeling was Postnatal Depression it was so liberating, I felt such a sense of relief that I wasn't going mad. Once my family knew, I started to get better.”
Cash raised through Sport Relief has been helping to fund maternal mental health projects in the UK since 2010. These projects include the Bluebell Care Trust in Bristol, and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Everyone’s Business’ campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of maternal mental health issues at a national level.
The contributors featuring in the films have been helped through Bluebell Care Trust and member organisations of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
“Being a parent is the most difficult thing any of us ever does and when we go through difficult times we need other people, but if we are not mentally well, we feel alone,” Dr Alain Gregoire, Perinatal Psychiatrist and Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance said. “Through this day of activity, Sport Relief is giving every one of us the opportunity to help mums and dads who are suffering from mental health problems at this critical time in their lives."
The day is being supported by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Bluebell Care Trust, the Royal College of General Practitioners, MIND, Netmums, Channel Mum who are following the stories @SportRelief and sharing their own views and insight using #MumTalk.
Sport Relief is back from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March and there are more ways than ever for you to take part, change lives and feel proud. The money raised will transform people's lives in the UK and across the world's poorest communities, including people affected by maternal mental health problems.