Essex families urged to speak out about postnatal depression

Parents in Essex are being encouraged to speak out about their experiences of postnatal depression to help improve mental health services

Around 1 in 10 new mums will experience postnatal depression, but not everyone knows where to find support, or is diagnosed early enough by their GP.

Healthwatch Essex, a voice organisation for users of health and social care, and ecdp are hosting a focus group in Braintree on 20 August to encourage people who have used natal mental health services, during or after pregnancy to share their story.

Mother and fathers are welcome to share their experiences of where services were good and where they fell short.

Dr Tom Nutt, Chief Executive Healthwatch Essex said:'Postnatal depression can affect the whole family.A lot of people don’t seek help, so it probably affects more families in Essex than we know.It takes great courage to speak out.But by sharing their voice with us, people can be reassured that they are making a difference to future services.'

This is part of a wider project that Healthwatch Essex and ecdp are running over the summer to make the voice of Essex mental health services users heard by the people who commission services.

Other focus groups will concentrate on mental health support provided by GPs and walk-in centres, as well as people who regularly receive care in the community, or those who have experienced care as a mental health in-patient in a hospital.

Demand for services is rising and financial cutbacks are increasing, so mental health services face a real challenge. The findings from the five focus groups will be fed back to the people who commission mental health services in Essex at a special meeting in October. By listening to today’s service users, they can help improve services for future generations.

Mike Adams, Chief Executive edcp said: 'Each year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. For Essex, that’s around 375,000 people - enough to fill Colchester Stadium over 30 times. This is a golden opportunity for the people who commission mental health services in Essex to take note of the first hand experiences of service users and to use this to make improvements.'

How to join this focus group

Call Laura Dunn on 01245 392321

Email Laura at

Visit the 555 project web page to find out more about this project

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