A Harrogate support group for new mums who are feeling anxious has been praised as “brilliant” by one of its mums, as its organiser wins a national industry award.
Mel Kavanagh, a health visiting Locality Manager in Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s Growing Healthy North Yorkshire service, has won a MacQueen Award in the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) Education and Development Trust’s MacQueen Anniversary Awards, for her work to set-up a support group for new mums in Harrogate – Mums in Mind – who are feeling anxious or in low-mood following the birth of their child.
The Mums in Mind sessions take place once a week in eight-week blocks, and provide a safe environment for mums to discuss their emotional health and raise any concerns they have. The sessions also provide an opportunity for mums to chat to each other about their feelings and to offer advice to one another.
Staff from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate and Rural District CCG, midwifery services, community mental health services and social care are involved in the group.
Becky Harding is a mum-of-two who attended Mums in Mind sessions both this year and in 2017. She said: “The Mums in Mind sessions and the team behind them have been brilliant. From having nothing to do and not going out at all, the sessions helped me build my confidence and allowed me to spend more time with my children.
“I’d encourage other mums who are experiencing the same feelings to come along to the sessions. It’s nice and was really important for me to meet people who feel the same as you do – and the sessions allowed me to do that.”
Mel was nominated for the award by colleagues after setting-up the group in February 2017, who have seen how successful the group has been for mums who attend the sessions.
On her award win, Mel said: “Having a baby is a big life event and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after pregnancy. The multi-agency approach to our Mums in Mind group builds peer support amongst mums and maximises their emotional wellbeing – as well as their children’s and family’s.
“I’m delighted to have won a CPHVA MacQueen Award for our work to set-up the group, and would like to thank colleagues and the mums who come along to our sessions. The value of the sessions to new mums cannot be underestimated.”
The Growing Healthy North Yorkshire health visiting team – provided by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust – is a multi-disciplinary team consisting of health visitors, assistant health visitor practitioners and admin support. The team works in the community to promote child health and empower families to achieve good health and wellbeing. Health Visitors are ideally placed to support mothers who are, or are at risk of, suffering from low mood, anxiety or postnatal depression.
Mel will be presented with her award at the Unite-CPHVA Annual Professional Conference 2019 in Harrogate on 16-17 October. The MacQueen awards are designed to support practice development across all aspects of public health undertaken by members of the CPHVA. The purpose of the awards is to celebrate excellent public health practice that members of the CPHVA deliver.