Acacia Family Support
‘Here to reassure Mums and families there is light at the end of the tunnel.’
Acacia Family Support is the only charity in the West Midlands that provides community-based support services to mothers and families affected by depression or anxiety during their pregnancy, or in the postnatal period.
What is Acacia Family Support?
Acacia Family Support was established in Birmingham 15 years ago by two local mothers who had experienced postnatal depression and found that there was a lack of specialist support available. Each year, Acacia supports over 500 families across Birmingham, helping them to feel less anxious or depressed, feel more supported and better able to cope. They offer a wide range of different support services to the whole family from 4 centres across Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield, Saltley, Kingstanding and Northfield), including individual befriending, group work, home visits, telephone support, as well as having 3 specialist projects that support fathers, teenage parents and mothers from minority ethnic backgrounds. Each centre also has its own onsite creche.
Acacia Family Support is a user led service. The majority of their services are delivered by a team of over 40 volunteers. 60% of these volunteers and 70% of the staff team have experienced PND or other mental health issues themselves.
A key part of Acacia Family Support is its Young Parents Project. Young parents are a unique group as they face several major adjustments to their identity, and young mothers are at a higher risk of developing postnatal depression (PND) which is associated with feelings of isolation and low self-esteem, which can have long term consequences for both the mother and her child. The transition to parenthood for young people can be extremely complicated and traumatic. Parents can face multiple, complex issues that can contribute to poor mental health and postnatal depression. As well as being particularly vulnerable to experiencing postnatal depression, they can also experience high levels of stress and feelings of isolation. In addition, a lack of support with mental health difficulties can have negative effects on young parents’ parenting practices and can affect the mother’s ability to bond with her child. Over the past 3 years, Acacia Family Support have seen an increasing number of young parents access their services, and they are keen to continue supporting as many young parents within the local community as possible.
If successful, what will you use your LoveBrum funding for?
£2,000 will help to provide equipment to be used in the Young Parents Group. This will include an empathy belly, so that family members can understand what the mother-to-be is going through, a resuscitation doll, so that staff and young parents can be taught emergency infant first aid. They will also organise a day trip for the young parents group to help encourage friendships and support networks between the mums using their service, and to help them realise that they are not alone with their feelings and prevent feelings of isolation.
Cost of project
Where can people go to find out more about Acacia Family Support?
Vicki Hook, Business Director
Tel: 07861 402543
Acacia is looking for energetic creche volunteers to join their growing teams in Kingstanding, Saltley and Northfield. They are also looking for creche volunteers to periodically support mums and their babies at home. If either of these sound like something you can do, please contact 0121 301 5990 for more information or download an application form from their website. Childcare experience is helpful but not necessary.