Help and Support for you
Sources of Support, including during the Coronavirus Pandemic
All of us at The EBA would like to acknowledge that we recognise the great additional difficulties that many families are facing at the current time. What is already an incredibly difficult experience of having your baby in a Neonatal Unit, is all the more challenging during the current Coronavirus pandemic. This no doubt places additional strain on you as parents and family members and our heartfelt empathy goes out to you all.
Due to Coronavirus visiting restrictions, we are currently unfortunately unable to visit the Units to run our regular coffee mornings where we would normally be able to sit and talk with you, make you a hot drink, offer a biscuit and a listening ear from another parent who has had a baby on the units. We are very much missing being able to do this, as this is an integral part of the unique support we offer to the families on the units. We hope that as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be able to return.
In the meantime, if you would like contact us for a chat, either over email, facebook messenger or a telephone or video call, please feel free to contact us on facebook, or by using the Contact Form on our website www.earlybirth.co.uk/contact-us/, or by emailing us at email@example.com.
We have put together the following list of resources and contact details of various organisations, charities and services that may be able to offer support and help. Please note the links lead to external websites, so we have no control over their content. We are also unable to directly endorse these organisations and services, but instead suggest you look over them to see if you think they would be a suitable source of help and support for you and to check their contact details are up to date.
- Best Beginnings – www.bestbeginnings.org.uk – Best Beginnings, in collaboration with Barnardo’s is providing free support to pregnant families and new parents struggling during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Best Beginnings work to engage, equip, educate and empower parents, from conception, to maximise their children’s life chances. They harness tech and innovation in order to offer evidence-based interventions to help parents, babies and children. They work to help parents build knowledge and confidence to support their own well-being and their children’s long-term physical, mental and emotional development.
- Birth Stories – BSUH Maternity https://www.bsuh.nhs.uk/maternity/our-services/specialist-support/birth-stories/ – Birth Stories gives women, especially those who may have experienced their labour as traumatic, the opportunity to talk through any aspect of their experience. It provides a one to one session with your obstetric notes available. Partners are welcome to attend. It is an opportunity to understand events, talk through your feelings about your birth, raise any concerns with care provided also discuss any implications for a subsequent pregnancy or labour. Referral Process – in the first instance they recommend that you make contact with your midwife, GP or health visitor to discuss your concerns. They accept referrals from any of these health practitioners and also from mental health and wellbeing services. Appointments are generally available within 8-10 weeks of referral.
- Birth Trauma Association – www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk – Charity that supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience and also their families who are affected.
- Bliss – www.bliss.org.uk Charity for babies born premature or sick. Bliss have information on their website about COVID-19 and questions you may have about the virus and your premature or unwell baby. They also support parents via email or video call. To arrange this email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can book a video call appointment by completing an online booking form. There is also a large section on their website titled ‘Support’ under the ‘Parents’ tab, that includes a lot of information on different topics including parental mental health, financial information, and a comprehensive list of other organisations that can provide information and support for families.
- British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy – www.bacp.co.uk Provides a search tool to help you find a local qualified counsellor or psychotherapist. Also offers tips, advice and strategies for helping you cope through these uncertain times that are more difficult due to the Coronavirus.
- BSUH Chaplaincy Team https://www.bsuh.nhs.uk/your-visit/help-and-support/religious-and-spiritual-needs/ The chaplaincy service is a small team providing a 24 hour, 7 day service across the Trust. The team consists of staff chaplains, a Trust Imam, a Trust Rabbi and contacts with volunteers from different faith groups in the community to provide a broad support for patients. A chaplain is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Members of the chaplaincy team are happy to talk to patients and their families, not only about specifically religious matters, but about any more general spiritual concerns. In emergencies, the switchboard operator can contact the chaplain directly for you. In non-emergencies, ask the switchboard to put you through to the following phone numbers: Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Department for Brighton, extn. 4122. Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Department for Haywards Heath extn. 8232.
- Every Mind Matters – www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website for a free plan, expert advice and practical tips for how to look after your mental health.
- Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services – https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/ If you live in England, in most areas you can also refer yourself for free, non-urgent NHS psychological therapy services, also known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services, which provide evidence-based treatments for a variety of mental health conditions.
- Mind – www.mind.org.uk – Charity that provides advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Mind also runs an info line that you can contact on 0300 123 3393. It’s an information and signposting service that is open 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday and you can ask about mental health problems and where you can get help near you.
- Oscars Wish Foundation – www.oscarswishfoundation.co.uk – Oscar’s Wish Foundation is a Charity based in Sussex. They provide comfort and support to Parents and siblings following the loss of a baby or babies before, during or shortly after birth. They work all over Sussex offering Bereavement Support, Specialist Bereavement Counselling and Support Programmes for Mums and Dads. They work alongside the Brighton Sussex and University Hospitals in Sussex to create gentle, calm spaces for families to spend time with their baby/ies within their Hospitals.
- Pandas – www.pandasfoundation.org.uk – Gives support to people coping with pre and postnatal mental illnesses, including postnatal depression, anxiety and birth trauma. They have a free helpline number on 0808 1961 776, staffed by volunteers, which is open 7 days a week from 11am – 10pm. You can also call for advice and support if you’re concerned about someone you know. They also offer email support, support groups and social media support online.
- Petals – The Baby Loss Counselling Charity – https://petalscharity.org – Tel 0300 688 0068 email email@example.com. Petals provides a free, counselling service to support women, men and couples through the devastation of baby loss. Petals’ counselling programme is unique – it has been specifically designed and developed to meet the needs of parents who have suffered pregnancy complications, the loss of a pregnancy or the death of a baby.
- Ronald Mcdonald House Brighton – https://rmhc.org.uk/our-houses/brighton-house serving Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, a space to give families the chance to stay close to their child whilst they are in hospital
- Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org – Provides a confidential listening service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call them anytime, from any phone for free on 116 123, or email Jo@samaritans.org (24 hour response time). They also offer a self help app which you can access from their website.
- Sands – Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity – www.sands.org.uk Helpline 0808 164 3332 – Sands supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. Some of the services they offer include a free national helpline and bereavement support app for parents, bereavement support groups, an online forum, and a wide range of online and print resources.
- SLOW – Surviving the Loss of Your World – Bereavement groups for bereaved parents and siblings, both in London and online/virtually – http://www.slowgroup.co.uk Support Groups 07532 423 674
- Sussex Mental Healthline – for telephone support and information phone 0800 0309 500. https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sussex-mental-healthline – The Sussex Mental Healthline is a 24/7 telephone service offering listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health. The service is available to anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend and this includes carers and healthcare professionals. You do not need an appointment. The Sussex Mental Healthline offers support to those who may be in crisis, distressed and in urgent need of help with their mental health.If you require support with physical health symptoms please phone 111, and if your situation is a health emergency please call 999.
- Tommy’s – www.tommys.org – For information and support during pregnancy, and following miscarrige, stillbirth or premature birth. Tommy’s website has comprehensive information on premature birth support and neonatal loss support. It also lists and has links to online communities for support for miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, noenatal death and termination for medical reasons.
- Twins Trust – https://twinstrust.org- Twin Trust is the only UK-wide charity dedicated to improving the lives of thousands of families with twins, triplets or higher multiples. Twin Trust supports all multiple birth families, including those with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Single Parents, parents of multiples with Special Needs and a Bereavement Support Group to support parents who have lost a child.
- 1-2-1 Counselling – Bereavement Training International –https://bereavementtraining.com/1-to-1/ Tel: 0771 263 1509 Bereavement Training International offers a specialist counselling service dedicated to providing psychological support to parents following the death of a baby or child. These confidential counselling sessions provide a safe space for parents to express their feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, shame and anger.
- Support for partners:
- There are several organisations who specialise in helping and supporting partners during this time:
- National Childbirth Trust – https://nct.org.uk – offers information, support and events to support new parents in their local area.
- The Birth Trauma Association – https://birthtraumaassociation.org.uk information and support for partners of someone who’s experienced a difficult birth.
- The Fatherhood Institute – www.fatherhoodinstitute.org – works on policy and research to support fathers.
- Dads Matter UK – https://www.dadsmatteruk.org – Dads Matter UK provides support for dads worried about or suffering from Depression, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Pink Parents – https://www.pinkparents.org.uk – offers support for gay and lesbian parents.
- Nine4Norah – https://nine4norah.co.uk is a charity campaign set up in 2019 in memory of a very special baby, Norah Faith Coniam. Their aim is to support and fundraise for Baby Loss & Mens mental health charities.
- DadsandLadsNetwork – is a men’s support network set up in 2020 by bereaved father Ross Coniam from Watford. Ross set up #DadsandLadsNetwork as a non-professional group to offer bereaved Dads and men suffering from mental health issues a safe space to talk. The private WhatsApp groups are open to all men that would like a safe and supportive environment to chat, as little or as much as they need. No judgement. No pressure. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to 07468369611.
- Support for siblings:
- Sibs – https://sibs.org.uk exists to support people who grow up with or have grown up with a disabled brother or sister. It is the only UK charity representing the needs of over half a million young siblings. Advice and support is available for when a sibling is in hospital.
- My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story – https://brettbooks.co.uk – a children’s book written by a four year old girl about the experience of having a sibling in hospital.
- Grief Encounter – https://griefencounter.org.uk Supports bereaved children and young people. Grief talk helpline 0808 802 0111.