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Launching our Interactive Map of VCS Perinatal Mental Health Services

Our interactive map is here!

A computer screen and mobile phone displaying the Hearts and Minds Partnership's website

The Hearts and Minds Partnership has launched an interactive map of safe perinatal mental health Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) services across England, to help signpost parents and healthcare professionals to grassroots support in their local communities.

As a collective of three perinatal mental health charities (Acacia Family Support, Bluebell Care and Smile Group), Hearts and Minds connects, supports and celebrates VCS services providing emotional wellbeing support to families across England. The partnership has been funded with a £442,000 National Lottery grant awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

With up to 20% of new mums affected by emotional wellbeing challenges in the pre and postnatal period*, exacerbated by the impact of pandemic restrictions over the last 18 months, the map and website are designed to be valuable information resources. This coordinated effort to support families at a grassroots level will help to ease the sense of isolation experienced by parents-to-be and new parents who felt disconnected from their local communities during pandemic lockdowns.

With more than 30 years of collective experience of growing and sustaining grassroots perinatal mental health services, Hearts and Minds intends to be a catalyst to bring VCS organisations together in a coherent way. The map aims to be a vital resource for parents who don’t meet the threshold for NHS specialist perinatal services and are unsure of where to turn for help.

The map has been carefully developed by Hearts and Minds in partnership with digital agency, Rocketmakers, and informed by user experience focus groups with parent, VCS and healthcare professional input.

Given the vulnerable nature of parents engaging with the map, and an emphasis on a collective commitment across the sector to quality and continuous improvement, a simple self-assessment checklist has been built into the process of featuring on the map in order to ensure rigour and essential safeguarding checks are in place. This also aligns with Hearts and Minds’ intention to support emerging VCS groups within the community, by collaborating and sharing best practice.

Commenting on the launch, Lead Coordinator, Natalie Nuttall said: “We’re thrilled to be able to share our new website and the map of VCS perinatal mental health services, which will be populated organically as we continue to make VCS organisations, healthcare professionals and families aware of this resource. Hearts and Minds is focused on supporting and connecting the VCS community in perinatal mental health so that we can all learn from each other and develop a coherent voice to represent the incredible work happening on the ground to support families at a vulnerable time in their lives.”

With three clear work-streams, the map is the first milestone in Hearts and Minds’ project plan, which also includes the creation of trusted spaces to share and learn, as well as the development of a programme of training to meet the specific needs of emerging and established VCS perinatal mental health services.

*Source – NHS England

About The National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. National Lottery players raise £36 million** each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994 £43 billion*** has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects. That’s 255 projects per postcode area.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

**based on 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

***based on figures from November 1994 to 31 March 2021


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