Butterflies - Peer Support Group for Expectant or New Parents
Butterflies Peer Support Group for parents experiencing Perinatal Mental Illness
Butterflies feature for Living magazine – Feb 2019
Mum Nikki has been so impressed with Butterflies that she can’t stop talking about it.
If she overhears another mum talking about the difficulties of childhood, feeling depressed or struggling to cope, she invites them to come along to the weekly support group in Collier Row.
Over the past year, the service for mums and dads who are struggling with depression and anxiety has built up a solid group of parents who get advice and support and most importantly know that they are not alone in their situation.
The group was set up by Perinatal Champions Natasha and Michelle to support parents to be and parents experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression after noticing a gap in this area. The service is believed to be one of a very few running across the country and a year since launching, more than 70 families, including fathers and partners, have been supported. Its success has led to plans for a second group to launch in early 2019 in the south of the borough.
Mum Hayley lost one of her twins at birth seven months ago and was recommended to join the group by her health visitor.
She said: “I wasn’t sure about attending at first as I thought it was going to be one of those ‘crying’ groups and I didn’t want that as I’m a really positive person, but it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone was so welcoming and it has made a really big difference to me. I haven’t looked back.”
Meanwhile, Nikki joined the group at the outset and has enjoyed it so much that as well as telling other mums about the group, she’s set up a Facebook page so parents can speak to each other when the group isn’t meeting.
She said: “I’ve learned how to pick up on depression in other people and refer them here so they can get help too.”
Dad Taj was visiting the service for the first time to see how his wife Stacy and their son are being supported.
“It’s good for me to have some time here. Not a lot of the boroughs provide something like this. I can see the difference it is making to Stacy. She is relaxed and chilled out and receiving a lot more support. It also gives her a chance to meet people, otherwise, it is a bit isolating.”
Stacy added that it gives her an opportunity to socialise with other mums, share experiences and get advice.
On the day that Living visited, the mums chatted, while their children played. They then had a discussion around their aspirations for the year, before ending the session with a singsong.
If they wished, they could also speak to experienced Health Visitor Lindsey Batty, who has additional mental health knowledge and training and acts as a link between Butterflies and the Perinatal Mental Health Service.
She added: “I know many people have tried to set up a postnatal support group and this is the most successful one I’ve seen. Michelle and Natasha are so supportive. If I refer someone, I know they will come into reception and give them a warm welcome. I think they do a fantastic job.”
Who to contact
Where to go
- RM5 3QJ
Time / Date Details
- When is it on
- Every Tuesday - held virtually on Zoom
- Session Information
Every Tuesday on Zoom