Mental ill health affects one in every five pregnancies in Scotland. The Scottish Government has announced that £50 million will be made available to increase provision of perinatal support, news that has been welcomed by Aberlour.
Speaking with STV’s Scotland Tonight programme, Assistant Director of Aberlour Liz Nolan said of the announcement: “It has highlighted the desperate need for equitable perinatal support for women across Scotland. In some local authorities in Scotland there is simply no provision at all”.
Mum of three Hazel has been supported by Aberlour’s Perinatal Befriending service. She said to STV:
“I had postnatal depression. I had fatigue, couldn’t get out of bed, teary, no motivation in life, it was very dark. It was like having a bus on top of me – I couldn’t move. I struggled with the attachment to my son and it was just a very dark place to be. There was no support available at that time. It went on for quite a while”.
After being referred to Aberlour for help, Hazel said:
“With having the support from Aberlour, it’s really been life changing. It’s given me confidence, it’s built a better attachment with the kids which is very important for their development.
“I had a befriender from Aberlour who came out to the house and who built a brilliant relationship with me, she was a really good listener. She gave me the confidence to go back out in the community because I was very, very isolated. Small steps at a time but it’s gradually led me to become more confident and be more empowered as well”.
“Currently there’s a lack of resources right across the country” says Liz Nolan. “This announcement today of additional Government money will allow specialist services but also appropriate services such as peer mentorship programmes and befriending services where the right support at the right time can be offered to women and their families when it’s needed.
“There is an expectation from society of perfection and that motherhood is a joyful time but for some mothers, motherhood is a terrifying time; it’s really isolating. Women aren’t at work and there is an expectation that they have to return. There’s an onus on employers to start to understand the impact of perinatal mental health on women but also on fathers.
“1 in 10 fathers will also be impacted by perinatal mental illness and we need to get early intervention to support families when they need us and in the places that they need us so specialist perinatal support is key but so too are the community projects like those that Aberlour provide. For some mothers, they will not be able to get out of their homes and so the services need to go to them”.
Aberlour perinatal support services
If you, your family or someone you know could benefit from perinatal support, Aberlour may be able to help:
We are also looking for volunteer perinatal befrienders. If you have a few hours to spare each week and are a great listener, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more.