Mums in Mind is a self-referral service which provides support for pregnant women and mums in Coventry over the age of 16 who are experiencing mental health issues, emotional distress and/or those who feel lonely and may lack the support of family and friends.
Mums in Mind is a self-referral service which provides support for pregnant women and mums in Coventry over the age of 16 who are experiencing mental health issues, emotional distress and/or those who feel lonely and may lack the support of family and friends. For many women being pregnant or a new mum can be an overwhelming, frightening, and stressful time especially for those experiencing mental ill health and/or who lack support of family and friends. Mums in Mind provides befriending, peer support and group support for these women to increase their social and support networks, improve their confidence and self-esteem, and to help improve their emotional wellbeing.
The befriending element includes regular one to one support and home visits, peer support offers the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation, while courses include baby massage to improve the bond between mother and baby and a small specialist baby and toddler group. The service makes a real difference to the lives of mothers and families, with many of the women accessing the service with trauma and at the ‘critical’ edge of mental health. For example, we see women who have experienced domestic violence, sexual abuse, or have been trafficked into this country, many also experience difficulties bonding with their child and are at risk of social services intervention. This service has countless examples where it has been instrumental in improving the mother’s wellbeing and therefore helped keep the family together. Our data shows that from January to December 2018, Mums in Mind supported 173 mums and pregnant women with positive outcomes across the board.
Wider Active Support
We work closely with local referral agencies such as social workers, GPs and the local NHS Trust who we meet with in regular meetings to remind them of the service’s existence for sign-posting. The service works on a self-referral basis and has been going from strength to strength since it was formed six years ago principally through word of mouth recommendation. The high regard in which Mums in Mind is held by our referral agencies has helped us drive the service forward and take advantage of new opportunities.
Co-production is central to the success of Mums in Mind as the ethos is very much a specialist mental health service run by mums for mums. The Mums in Mind service is supported by a peer group of mums called Stepping Stones who meet once a week. Their meetings are a key way new developments are communicated to volunteers, who help deliver the service, and the clients. For example, we are investigating how we can engage with ‘hard to reach’ mums and dads, as we are interested in developing a service to support fathers experiencing mental health issues, such as what language to use and the types of message to put out, whether to reach dads directly or through mums.
The feedback of Stepping Stones members has been invaluable on this. Conversely, we develop ideas communicated to us from the group. For example, Stepping Stones initiated the idea of a mum and baby group and we acted in response to their needs to continually develop and improve the service and ensure it is relevant. A new development is that owing to the success of the Mums in Mind baby and toddler group, we are seeking additional locations so more mums can access the service. The emphasis is to keep the group small and accessible.
Looking Back/Challenges Faced
The Mums in Mind service is staffed primarily by passionate and committed volunteers who carry out befriending, one to one visits and take part in groups. One of the early challenges was in gaining a committed team of volunteers as, due to the nature of the volunteers we sought – mums who by definition had their own caring responsibilities – effective recruitment through the central Coventry and Warwickshire Mind volunteer recruitment channels could be challenging, as while we welcome volunteer applications from people of all backgrounds, we find those who offer the most time and show most commitment are those women who have experienced mental health issues in pregnancy and their child’s early years and are therefore able to offer personal experience. Volunteers like Charlette who herself experienced Postnatal Depression and has offered a weekly commitment to the service for more than 3 years, working with seven mums and children, a role she has found extremely rewarding. To overcome this challenge, we have found greater success running our own volunteer recruitment, via internal service publicity, alongside the central channels to achieve candidates who are committed to the service for consistency of client support.
We are proud the service continues to go from strength to strength since it was formed six years ago. It is financially stable though funding from Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and national Mind and recruitment is stable as we are privileged to work so effectively with Stepping Stones and our volunteers, areas where should it be needed people can be recruited from to lead the service. One of the Mums in Mind paid members of staff leading the service was a former Stepping Stones member.
Evaluation (Peer or Academic)
Outcomes are measured by staff using the SWEMWBS Warwickshire and Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale. Clients are also encouraged to complete Coventry and Warwickshire Mind surveys and to feedback comments. All qualitative and quantitative results are collated by the service manager using Charity Log which is then processed by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind’s performance and evaluation lead who analyses the data and produces regular reports which are used by the service, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and communicated to national Mind.
The SWEMWBS system shows Mums in Mind has improved outcomes for all its clients. Some recent positive comments from clients are: “Feeling more confident, nice to meet other mums who are feeling the same. Liked the workshop on understanding how and why I feel this way.” “It’s been really helpful to share experiences and feelings honestly in a safe environment.” “Made me realise that its ok to feel the way I feel. I have been able to talk in a group and offer advice to others if I had any which is a massive deal for me.” “Listening to other people’s experiences made me understand I am not alone. And the teacher is very patient. She is always ready to listen and never judgemental.”
Due to the ongoing success of the Mums in Mind service, we are regularly contacted by external organisations and other local Minds in the Mind network of mental health charities enquiring to find out more about Mums and Mind and visiting with a view to setting up their own similar service. We are happy to share best practice and experiences with others. For example, we have welcomed organisations in to meet the Stepping Stones group and discuss their ideas. We believe strongly in the positive impact of good local mental health support by mums for mums, to empower individuals and help strengthen families.
Is there any other information you would like to add?
Further information about Mums in Mind can be found at https://cwmind.org.uk/mums-in-mind/ Please feel free to contact us if you need further information. Thank you.
Can you please tell us who your service is commissioned by and provided by?
The Mums in Mind service is provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and is funded by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and national Mind.