Information for Health Professionals
As part of our #MumsTogther project, funded by Comic Relief, we are working to build relationships with local health and social care professionals and develop referral routes in - and out - of Happy Mums services.
We are very happy to attend team meetings and other events to tell you more about Happy Mums and our #MumsTogether project. Or feel free to pop in during our office hours (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri 9.30am-2.30pm)
Call 01228 592301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What services do you offer as part of the #MumsTogether project?
Our project is all about providing peer-led support to women in Carlisle and North Cumbria who are experiencing - or at risk of - perinatal mental health problems.
Our core service is weekly support groups. This is complemented with a range of weekly and monthly activities. We have an onsite creche at Happy Mums HQ, which - as well as providing childcare for children from birth to five years old during support groups and other project activities - also offers CONNECT sessions which are an opportunity for parents to use the facilities to enhance the bond with their child(ren).
You can find out more about these services on our #MumsTogether Project page.
What are the criteria for referral to the #MumsTogether project?
We work with women who are pregnant, or have given birth in the last two years. These are the boundaries of our project as set out in our project plan, but where you and/ or the woman feels that the primary issue is related to her perinatal mental health we can make an exception.
Women do not need a formal diagnosis of a perinatal mental health problem. If a woman feels that our services will be beneficial for her perinatal mental health we are happy to accept a referral.
Women who develop mental health problems for the first time during pregnancy, or post-natally, are encouraged to access our support. They may have approached their Midwife, Health Visitor or GP, although this is not necessary.
We also accept referrals (or self-referrals) for women who have an existing or recurrent mental health problem who are planning to become pregnant, who are already pregnant or have given birth in the last two years.
Although we promote our services towards prevention, and mild/moderate perinatal mental health problems, we have worked with women whose experiences are more severe and complex. We will discuss with the individual and any health or social care professional involved, on a case by case basis, whether we are the most appropriate service for her needs.
We currently promote our services to women living in the Carlisle district (including Brampton, Longtown, Dalston) but we are increasingly working with women from further to the west of the county, including Wigton. We will not reject any referral on the basis of geography if the women feels able to access our services.
As a point of principle, we never reject referrals outright. We always endeavour to meet with the individual woman (with her health or social care professional if appropriate) to discuss what we offer and what she is looking to get out of being involved in the project. There may be factors that would indicate she would receive more appropriate support from another organisation (eg. where the primary issue is bereavement, domestic abuse, or drug & alcohol abuse) but this will be agreed together.
The age of the woman is not part of our referral criteria. We are happy to receive referrals regarding younger mums, although it should be noted that we don't offer services specific to any particular age group.
How can I make a referral?
If you are working with a women who you feel may benefit from our peer-support services, you can:
encourage her to contact us and self-refer (although we know that women sometimes find this difficult); or
gain her consent to refer her yourself, using our professionals' referral form.
We do ask you to use the referral form where possible, as this includes important information that is helpful to us in making the enrolment process as smooth as possible for the service user. It is a short form, designed to completed easily and quickly. When complete you can password protect the document and email to us, providing us with the password by another means (eg. phone). We don't currently have access to a fax machine.
We are also able to take the details over the phone and complete the form on your behalf.
We would like to continue to work with you to support the service user throughout her involvement with our project.
How you do ensure your services are safe?
The safety of our service users is very important to us, as everyone who is part of the Happy Mums team has had some form of lived-experience of perinatal mental health problems.
There are several ways that we make sure that we are able to keep everyone safe, including:
Training (Safeguarding training relating to both adults and children (mandatory); training in the facilitation of peer support groups (mandatory); Suicide Awareness training (optional); First Aid (optional); Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse training (optional);
Regular supervision of staff and volunteers with a BACP Accredited Supervisor, and ongoing support ;
Enhanced DBS checks for staff and volunteers;
Support Group Facilitators working in pairs;
Being clear on our remit as 'peer-supporters' - we are not here to replace clinical involvement, but to complement it;
Safeguarding policy and procedures, and Designated Safeguarding Lead for Adults;
Appropriate and up to date insurance.
How effective are your peer support services in prevention and recovery from perinatal mental illness?
Each woman who enrols on the #MumsTogether project completes a mood survey when she first accesses our services and at regular intervals thereafter. We use the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). We combine the results of these scales to track changes in mood.
Our latest report (April 2018) shows that 73.3% of our service users showed an improvement in their mood. There was an improvement rate of between 16% and 88%.
We also gather qualitative data to support the assessment of the impact of our services. In a recent questionnaire of our service users, 100% reported that being involved in the #MumsTogether project had had a positive effect on their mental health (85% reported a very positive effect).
Quick Referral: While we prefer to receive completed referral forms, if necessary we can accept quick referrals via the contact form above.
After gaining her consent, please provide NAME, PHONE NUMBER and EMAIL for the woman you would like to refer. A member of our team will then contact her directly to enrol her into the project.