In the past 10 years Home-Start UK has seen a 47% increase in the proportion of parents saying they are facing mental health difficulties, with mental health difficulties now reported by one-in-two parents referred to the charity.

In 2014, 34% of people referred to Home-Start said that they were facing difficulties with their mental health. In 2023 this had risen to 50%. 

Support with mental health has overtaken isolation and loneliness as most common issue at referral.

Home-Start UK is releasing the figures, based on an analysis of information submitted by Home-Starts across the UK, during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight the challenges faced by mothers, as well as fathers, and the urgent need for more accessible support.

"This statistic serves as a reminder of the prevalence and impact of maternal mental health challenges within our communities," says Alex Corgier, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Lead at Home-Start. "Every family deserves understanding, empathy, and the necessary support to navigate these challenges effectively. As we mark Maternal Mental Health Week, it’s important that we use the opportunity to raise awareness and advocate for meaningful change.”

According to recent data from Home-Start, a significant portion of families reaching out for assistance are grappling with various mental health issues, ranging from postpartum depression to anxiety and beyond.

Evidence shows that 1 in 5 new and expectant mothers and 1 in 10 fathers experience perinatal mental health issues. Despite these numbers, a staggering 70% of mothers underplay or hide how they are feeling, and 50% never have their mental health needs identified. Even for those who do seek help, only half receive the treatment they require.

One supported mum shares her experience saying:

“When my daughter was born I felt overwhelmed and isolated. Despite seeking help from mental health services I felt overlooked and being made redundant added to the stress. I battled anxiety about my baby's safety and simple tasks like going on a bus journey felt impossible. Connecting with Home-Start changed everything. Through weekly calls with my  Home-Start volunteer, I found a safe space to share my fears without judgment and I learned to embrace my role as a mum.”

To meet the needs of families across the UK, Perinatal and Infant mental health bespoke training has been developed by Home-Start UK for their staff teams and volunteers to better support families through our model of relational compassionate care.

Ahead of the coming election, Home-Start is calling on all parties to commit to developing a joined-up and long-term plan for family support that includes statutory and voluntary sector, that would allow for better support of parent’s mental health. Home-Start is also asking for the creation of a supportive and sustainable environment for the voluntary organisations, such as Home-Start, that can deliver effective early intervention, removing the need for costly interventions later and giving every child the best possible start in life. 

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