“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in”.
Every year 80,000 babies are born in the UK requiring specialist neonatal intensive care.
Few parents anticipate this traumatic start to parenthood and the journey through neonatal care is often one of uncertainly, pain and loss. Thrown into a world where incubators house the most fragile of babies, where rows of medical devises beep and alarm and where life support machines offer hope, it is no wonder that parents describe this journey as an emotional roller-coaster ride.
Studies suggest that 40% of mothers experience post-natal depression (PND) following NICU (compared to 5-10% of mothers delivering healthy babies at full term) and that more than half experience symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Any yet, each year, thousands of women are let down by the primary health care provision they receive.
General Practitioners and Health Visitors, those who meet mothers in the first few weeks after baby comes home, are in a unique position to make a difference. However, they must have the skills, knowledge and understanding to identify parents in need following neonatal care.
The Smallest Things is therefore calling upon –
- The Nursing and Midwifery Council
- The Institute of Health Visiting
- Royal College of General Practitioners
…to ensure that their members are fully trained to recognise and act upon the specific mental health needs of parents following NICU and is asking NICU families to share their stories.
Add your name to our 2016 Mental Health Campaign by signing our petition HERE!
Would you like to share your story to raise awareness and provide support and reassurance to other NICU parents? Contact Catriona at E. firstname.lastname@example.org