Havering’s specialist group for new mums and dads managing the early days of parenthood is celebrating its first birthday.
‘Butterflies’ was set up to support the emotional health and wellbeing of parents who may be experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression related to pregnancy or after becoming a parent. It has supported more than 70 families since it was set up a year ago.
The perinatal peer support group meets weekly at Collier Row Children’s Centre and offers support and advice as well as a place for parents to relax and chat to other parents in a welcoming and friendly environment. It recognises the challenges that being a parent can bring and that it is natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after pregnancy.
Butterflies’ success has led to plans for a second group to be launched this year in the south of the borough.
Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said:”Butterflies is unlike other parenting support groups. It offers parents in Havering the unique opportunity to meet other mums and dads who are affected by depression and low mood, get advice and support and helps them to know they are not alone.
“The most recent figures show that around 500 women in Havering were affected by anxiety and mild to moderate depression linked to pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a parent.
“Early diagnosis makes a vast difference to their wellbeing, as they can be supported through the group and other parents in similar situations.”
A parent who attends the group said:”It has helped me through my depression and anxiety by just having someone to talk to. I am happy when I’m here. I know I’ve got people I can turn to if I have any problems.”
The group is led by Havering’s Early Help Perinatal Champions and runs each Tuesday morning between 10 am and 11.30 am at Collier Row Children’s Centre.
Parents can be referred by a health visitor or they can just drop into Butterflies themselves, – where the activities range from arts and crafts and play sessions to group discussions.
For more information visit www.havering.gov.uk/butterflies