#KnowYourCommunity is an ECBC campaign that hopes to raise awareness of groups/charities/organisations/people that help those living with a mental illness.
ECBC spoke to Jennie, founder of Stockport Snowdrops, about her organisation and how it can help those living with a mental illness in and around Manchester.
I’m Jennie and I’m based in Woodley in Stockport. I run a group called Snowdrops which seeks to support mums struggling with their mental health. The group welcomes mums from Stockport and South Manchester.
What is Stockport Snowdrops and why did you start the group?
I had my first child in 2012 and suffered from Postnatal depression. It went undiagnosed for almost 18 months. When I spoke to a friend about it, she suggested I attended a PANDAS peer support group in Didsbury, I was nervous at first and a little skeptical that spending time with other depressed mums would help but it really did! My first experience of peer support here showed me the power of shared experience and not feeling alone.
When I had my second little girl in 2015, I struggled again and in 2016 as I started to feel better I set up Snowdrops in Stockport as we had moved house and the PANDAS group has shut down. I wanted to provide a space locally where mums can come along no matter how they feel and be honest about their motherhood journey.
I love the seasons and Spring is one of my favourites. Snowdrops are often the first sign of Spring and mark the beginning of the end of Winter.
I hope the group for some mums is a place where they begin to see the end of Winter. That it provides hope that brighter days are ahead as they trudge through their winter. A little cheesy but true.
When invited to attend CBT sessions or counselling, childcare can be a huge barrier for mums accessing the support they need. I hope by providing a support group in the day which children can come along we remove that barrier and provide peer support and access for mums to meet others with similar experiences as them.
We also have a counsellor, Polly Hammerton from Heatons Therapy, who attends our sessions once a month and provides one-to-one sessions for mums and also group activities around managing symptoms of anxiety or depression. She is invaluable and brings so much experience to the team.
I hope Snowdrops continues to grow, maybe setting up a group in another area in Stockport or increasing to 2 groups on a Wednesday morning to provide more capacity. We are also increasingly involved with the Greater Manchester Perinatal Mental Health teams and other groups in the area such as Mums Wellbeing Group and Coffee, Chill & Spill who run similar groups in and around Manchester.
What are your thoughts on the mental health services today?
I am thrilled that the conversation about mental health is widening and opening up however it is clear that as the conversation opens up, services are under funded and struggling to cope. It is clear when speaking to friends with teenagers that Young People’s mental health services are at breaking point and need so much more investment to be able to provide the interventions needed for young people to thrive and enter adult life able to cope.
The new Greater Manchester Perinatal Mental Health teams are a huge step forward in providing early intervention and specifically tailored support to new parents but there is always more than can be done.
Do you have future events for Snowdrops?
On May 1st, we have our 2nd ‘Big Snowdrops Stroll’. This is a fun walk for adults and children to raise awareness during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. It takes place in Woodbank Park and we have refreshments in Vernon Park Cafe after we have finished the walk. Last year, we had a lovely, if very wet, morning and over 50 mums attended so this year we are expecting over 100 parents. Children who complete the walk receive a certificate and mums get a little treat and a free cake in the cafe.
People can register for this here.
Do you run a local organisation or group within Manchester to help people living with a mental illness? If so get in touch, we would love to promote your organisation. x