What Peer Support Means to Me – by Emma McKinnon

Mum, peer supporter and counsellor

Having experienced first-hand how challenging it is having PNMD with my first two pregnancies, I asked for help with my 3rd. I received support from the perinatal mental health team during my pregnancy and after my daughter was born. The support was exactly what I needed.

The main reason I want to work with families and support them with PND is because of the incredible support I received. 

The help and guidance I received not only benefited myself, but also my whole family. Therefore, I think peer support for PND is of great importance. Training alone does not let you understand what someone might be going through.

Having first-hand experience can give you a more in-depth understanding and aid in supporting someone through it. 

I am currently working as a cognitive behavioural therapist at MindMosaic which includes working with clients with PND, both male and female. MindMosaic are funded by Cattanach Trust to provide perinatal services in Inverclyde. We also work in partnership with Crossreach Bluebell Perinatal Services and Homestart Inverclyde. As our PND services are highly sought after, we have come up with a variety of options to help support families affected.

We offer 1 to 1 counselling with a trained counsellor. There is also a creche option available allowing parents with no childcare to still receive much needed support.  Hubs at local community centres were set up where people could come for 1 to 1 counselling and would not have to travel as far, this is something we hope to expand when possible. This would be great for the community and help to spread awareness of the services provided by MindMosaic for PND.

In a recent study 82% of dads reported not being asked how they are coping and about their mental health, this is something MindMosaic want to spread awareness of. 

Men suffer too, often in silence. We use social media as a platform to spread awareness, statistics and the services that are available. This allows us to let people know they can come forward and speak to a counsellor with lived experiences in a non-judgemental space.

MindMosaic also offer Baby massage classes allowing parents to connect and soothe their baby. This provides a bonding experience but also techniques to help parents.

Women who have no peer support can suffer severely from PND, affecting parent/baby relationship and interaction with family. There is an essential requirement for PND support to be developed and MindMosaic is working towards enhancing these services.

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