Maternity coaches need mental health awareness

Do you take mental health needs into account when you consider maternity leave support for your employees?

Are you prepared to:
  • look out for potential problems
  • offer the right support
  • decide when your new-parent employee needs professional mental health support?

Coaches have an ethical obligation to care for their clients, regardless of who is paying. As a trained Mental Health First Aider I can recognise and understand when clients need more help than I can offer.

Growing challenge
Mental health issues cost British businesses an average of £1,000 a year for every employee, researchers say. And the Harvard School of Public Health predicts that by 2020, the developed world will lose more workdays to depression than heart disease.

More than ‘postnatal depression’
If you focus on pregnant women, the need to remember mental health becomes even more pressing.

According to NHS England, perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of women during pregnancy and the first year after having a baby

Perinatal mental illness includes a wide range of conditions, such as:
  • antenatal depression
  • postnatal depression
  • anxiety
  • perinatal obsessive compulsive disorder
  • postpartum psychosis
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

For information about the number of women affected each year, see http://everyonesbusiness.org.u...

Health visitor example
A recent story on Channel 4 News
 https://www.channel4.com/news/cuts-to-vital-service-for-new-parents-and-babies-scrutinised gave touching examples of how mental health is key to the well being of new families.

The story was about cuts to health visitor services for new parents and babies: there has been an 18% fall in the number of health visitor checks over two years.

Health visitors are traditionally there to check a new baby is thriving physically. But they also keep a close eye on the parents’ mental health

‘Great to have someone’
For example, new mum Jane Fisher tells how she turned to her health visitor, Mark Edwards, for help when she found herself feeling desperate and helpless.

Mark had picked up warning signs in his previous visits and was able to get Jane the medical help she needed.

‘It was great to have someone to phone up and say I am struggling,’ she said.

Looking after mental health needs
Like health visitor Mark, at Confidence to Return we take our responsibility to care for clients very seriously.

We create personal, tailor-made programmes for new parents and offer support in person, over the phone and by email.

We can offer Parental Programme clients a Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), which is one of the ways GPs evaluate an individual's mental health and gauge their depression.

Coaches like me can use it to judge whether a client can be coached through her issues, or if she needs to seek medical advice.

Benefits of Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to recognise the crucial warning signs of mental ill health. It is an educational course that teaches people how to:
  • recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues
  • provide help on a first aid basis
  • effectively guide someone towards the right support.

MHFA England has delivered courses to more than 150,000 people and the MHFA Client Experience Team delivers training packages directly to large organisations.

Parental Programmes

Confidence to Return offers more than traditional maternity leave coaching. Becoming a parent is life-changing, whatever your gender or family format. It brings fresh challenges and new priorities that can make it hard to balance a new family with a career

Our Parental Programme:
  • guides your employees through their experience
  • gives new parents tools to adjust to their new roles as working parents
  • supports a well-managed return to work
  • is inclusive and gender neutral

Sandie Dennis, Confidence to Return

Returning to work is our business.

Discover how our Parental Programmes can help your employees, and your business.

Whatever you're going through, you can call The Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

Useful links

  • Mental Health First Aid England: mhfaengland.org

The Department of Health and Social Care responded: ‘A £16bn public health funding grant … provides opportunities to identify early signs of mental health problems among mothers and allow the right support to be provided.’ But these checks don’t have to be done by a health visitor.


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