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Mums co-produce Perinatal Mental Health short film – ‘Our Safe Space’

15th September 2023

Mums from the Belfast Trust Perinatal Mental Health Service share their experiences in a new project to let other parents know they are not alone.

Staff and mothers within Belfast Trust’s Perinatal Mental Health Service have joined forces to co-produce a short film entitled ‘Our Safe Space’. The film provided an opportunity for mums to share their experiences of seeking help and attending the service for the first time.

Five mothers tell their story of struggling with mental health in the perinatal period and describe how the service supported them. Nichola, Caitlin, Barbara, Leah and Francine are keen for the film to be shared widely to reduce the stigma attached to perinatal mental illness and to reassure women attending the service that things can get better.

Mother and co-producer, Caitlin said: “I was scared after receiving a letter to attend the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic and it was something I tried to avoid but everything changed when I went to my first appointment. I quickly realised that there is so much support available and this was a safe space where I wouldn’t be judged.
Creating this video has been an incredible experience. I have loved being a part of something that will help reduce the stigma of perinatal mental illness. The women in this video have shared the anxiety of going to your first appointment. We have gone through it and come out the other side. There is hope and that’s what we wanted to portray in this film.

“I would encourage any mother who is struggling to reach out and speak to someone. I was in the same position and felt invisible but you don’t need to suffer alone. There is so much support available within the perinatal mental health clinic and there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lead Nurse, Claire McAleer said: “Pregnancy and early parenthood can be seen as a happy and joyful time but this isn’t always the case. Women can struggle with their mental health during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby, whether they are a first time parent or have other children. The Perinatal Mental Health Service is here to support mothers who are finding things difficult.

“We use a holistic approach which involves the mother, the baby and her circle of support alongside help from our multidisciplinary team. Our message to mothers is that you are not alone, there is a range of help on offer and we are here to support you. Please speak to your GP, health visitor, midwife or mental health professional to discuss the options available.”

Watch the full documentary on the making of the short film: