Leicester

Struggling mums to get mental health help via text

Naomi Harrison
Image caption Naomi Harrison hopes people suffering with mental health issues would be able to get help quicker than she did

Women who are struggling with mental health issues during pregnancy or after giving birth will now be able to get help by sending a text message.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust claims its Mum's Mind message service is the first of its kind for the NHS.

Mothers can text the service if they are struggling with problems like anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

It was set up after the trust got £460,000 from NHS England to expand its perinatal mental health care team.

It is hoped the service will allow women who suffer from similar issues to get the help they need more quickly.

Image caption The NHS estimates 20% of women experience mental health problems around birth

Naomi Harrison, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said she wished the text service had been running when she struggled with anxiety and bonding issues when her baby was born seven weeks prematurely.

She said: "For someone to say, 'You know what? I'm not enjoying this, this isn't going how I thought or I'm worried that I'm going to regret becoming a mum', is a huge taboo.

"You can message a trained professional and know they're going to get back to you in 24 hours and give you support, advice and they're not going to judge you."

Donna Stafford, from the perinatal mental health team, said: "We know 20% of women will experience mental health problems during the perinatal period.

"What we want the Mum's Mind message to do is improve access to services. We want people to be able to speak about their mental health problems."

The dedicated text line - 07507330026 - operates from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays.

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