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George's story

February 24th 2016

Men can be forgotten in discussions about maternal mental health. George, a 33-year-old Bristol dad, is helping to change that. He has spent the past six months volunteering as a peer-to-peer support worker at Bluebell Care Trust for fathers whose partners are experiencing depression, anxiety or intrusive thoughts around the birth of their child.

“It’s vital that people understand the impact it’s having on men as husbands and fathers and it’s vital they get support as well.”

Problems can be compounded by men’s reluctance to admit there is a problem or speak openly about their feelings. George frequently finds he is the first person a father has spoken to. His job is to ensure men know that they are not alone and things will improve, but also helps devise a practical plan to support the couple.

“The thing that really struck me when I first spoke to dads, whether it was on the phone or in person, was a sense of relief that they’re not the only ones going through this experience. One of the hardest experiences is the sense that when you’re in the middle of it you can’t see the way out.”

The charity will soon open Bluebell Place, a drop-in centre in the centre of Bristol partly funded using money raised through Sport Relief, where George will offer individual and group support sessions for dads.

Cash raised through Sport Relief is helping to fund maternal mental health projects, such as Bluebell Care Trust. Based in Bristol, the charity supports mums, dads and their families dealing with depression related to pregnancy and birth. It offers support groups and one-to-one mentoring, and will also soon establish a drop-in centre in the city centre.

If you have been affected by maternal mental health issues and would like more information on support and services please visit the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

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