Libraries to launch counselling service for new mums in Suffolk

Suffolk Libraries has launched a new support scheme for parents in Ipswich and east Suffolk Picture

Suffolk Libraries has launched a new support scheme for parents in Ipswich and east Suffolk Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

A range of new support schemes have been launched by Suffolk Libraries to help aid the mental health of pregnant women and young families.

The new “Me, Myself and Baby” service, in partnership with Suffolk Mind, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Get Me Out of These Four Walls, is hoped to help improve the lives of the up to 20% of women suffering with their mental health.

With the coronavirus lockdown leading to more people feeling isolated, fears have been raised that the emotional wellbeing of mums-to-be and those who have recently given birth could be significantly affected.

The project, which is also in partnership with local children’s centres, is funded by the Suffolk Community Foundation and was initially aimed to be a series of library-based groups. Now however, access to the scheme will be available remotely online.

As well as offering support for mums and dads through email, the scheme will offer telephone counselling to parents, provided by Suffolk Mind. Those referred to the service will be eligible for eight free 50-minute sessions.

The Stay at Home and Play classes will also provide play ideas for babies and toddlers, by utilising everyday items around the home to create fun, nurturing and educational ways to play.

Coffee mornings will also be hosted for those who use the service, and it is hoped there will later be opportunities for parents in similar situations to meet.

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Sarah Lungley, Suffolk Libraries wellbeing manager, said she is “thrilled” to launch the project for families in Ipswich and east Suffolk.

She added: “Despite the challenges presented to us during this difficult time, we have worked hard alongside partners to develop and adapt our offer. Whilst the service may not be how we had initially planned, we hope we will still be able to connect with and help support many parents and carers in Ipswich and East Suffolk.

“Perinatal mental health is hugely important, but is a part of mental health still not talked about and surrounded by stigma. It’s especially important at this time, that mums and families know there is support out there.

“As a library service, we have a long history of supporting new parents and we feel this project, working alongside expert partners, only helps strengthen this.

“Whether it is the middle of the night when the baby is awake, or at the end of a long day caring for a newborn child whilst home schooling, the message is the same – ‘you are not alone’.”

Those who would like to get involved should contact here.