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Mental health support

Pregnancy and/or the arrival of a new baby is a highly emotional period.

The changes can impact your relationships with a partner, friends or family. It can affect how you feel about yourself, or create new pressures within the family. The conception/pregnancy/birth itself may be/have been difficult and may bring up strong feelings from past life events. Or maybe you took an alternative route to parenthood. There may be health issues for the baby or a parent, financial pressures or other things going on in your life.

Or, with no obvious reason, there may be a huge change in your emotional and mental state. In short, anyone may feel anxious, vulnerable or even overwhelmed during this time, regardless of gender or circumstances.

If you are worried about yourself or a partner, you might seek support from a professional in talking therapies. It can be helpful to talk to someone confidentially, or there might be issues that you need support to address. Our practitioners are qualified to well-recognised standards. We also screen them for their experience and interest in working with people in this phase of life.

What if I need urgent help?

If you’ve had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone you trust immediately. This could be a friend or relative, or a healthcare professional like your GP or midwife.

The Samaritans are there for people when they need them, which could be any time of day or night. They provide safe, confidential support and will help with any issue, however difficult. Contact them anytime on any phone free on 116 123.

The NHS website also has a list of mental health helplines.

For urgent medical attention, you can go to Accident & Emergency (A&E) and Emergency GP appointments. For urgent medical advice you can call the NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct (Wales).

What are ‘talking therapies’?

Talking therapies (also called ‘psychological therapies’) can include support of many types such as counselling, psychotherapy and coaching. Therapy offers a safe, confidential place to talk to a trained professional about your feelings and concerns. You might talk about difficult events in your life or your relationships and emotions. Or you might have negative thoughts and behaviours that you want to change.

Therapists will not give you advice or solve your problems for you. They will also not prescribe any medication. They will listen to your story, helping you to understand yourself better and make positive changes in your life.

Therapists work in a variety of NHS and private settings. You may meet one-to-one or with you partner/family. You might consult with a therapist in person, over the phone or via videocall.

What’s the difference between a ‘therapist’, a ‘counsellor’, a ‘psychotherapist’, a ‘psychologist’ and other mental health professionals?

A ‘therapist’ is a professional trained in talking therapies. The term ‘counsellor’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘therapist’ to refer to talking therapies in general, but it is also a technique in itself.

Counselling involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues. Without judging or criticising, they can help you to better understand your feelings and thought processes and find your own solutions to problems. They will not usually give advice or tell you what to do. Training as a counsellor typically takes 3-4 years and involves academic study, placements, ongoing clinical supervision, professional development and therapy for themselves (either as part of their mandatory training and then through choice).

Psychotherapy is another form of talking therapy. Psychotherapists help people to overcome stress, emotional and relationship problems or troublesome habits, using many different approaches and techniques. A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional, who has had specialist training in psychotherapy. The training for these healthcare professionals is a postgraduate masters, or masters-equivalent level specialist training. It is not normally less than four years.

Peppy works only with counsellors and psychotherapists who are registered members of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), or the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

‘Practitioner psychologists’ are psychologists who work with clients (rather than, say, in research). You might see someone listed as a ‘counselling psychologist’, ‘clinical psychologist’, ‘practitioner psychologist’ or ‘registered psychologist’. This means that they have undertaken in-depth study of the science of psychology, including postgraduate studies (usually to doctoral level). They are registered with the British Psychological Society and regulated by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). Practitioner psychologists may work/have worked in private practice, the NHS and other public services such as prisons, the police, social services etc.

As well as health professionals, volunteers, family and friends can also help you when it comes to mental health. The most important thing is that you get the type of support and care that is appropriate and suits you best.

I’m worried about my partner’s mental health or wellbeing. What can I do?

If your partner is going through a difficult time it can be hard to know how best to help them, and get the support and assistance they need. The BACP have information here on how you can support them and find the right kind of help.

Will anyone else know that I’m seeing a therapist, or what I’ve said in a session?

Counselling and psychotherapy sessions are confidential. Each professional body requires their members to operate under a code of ethics that commit them to protecting client confidentiality and privacy, unless there is a serious risk to the client or someone else.

If you have a parental services allowance, we will not share personally identifiable data about the services you use, with your employer. You can check out the Peppy privacy policy here.

Other resources:

British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy

UK Council for Psychotherapy

Samaritans

NHS Moodzone

Make Birth Better (information on birth trauma)

Peppy mental health practitioners 

Peppy currently works with registered members of BACP/ UKCP or practitioner psychologists registered with the HCPC. All practitioners are required to have a minimum of 2 years’ relevant experience. We check personal ID and proof of professional registration and we personally assess the practitioner’s perinatal experience.

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