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A safe and supportive experience for Edinburgh mums

Let’s do Peer Support: Bump, Birth and Beyond is coming soon! Here’s a sneaky peek at one of the case studies from this new perinatal resource.

The project: Juno

For us perinatal peer support is about providing mums with a safe non-judgemental space where they can share their worries with other mums who have had similar lived experiences.  Juno was set up in 2015 by a group of mums in Edinburgh who all had lived personal experience of perinatal mental health difficulties. Our aim was to help other mums who were struggling emotionally, and to help them feel heard, validated and less alone. We initially set up general face-to-face groups for mums with all perinatal mental health conditions. We then developed a specific perinatal trauma group. Since lockdown has lifted, we have a blend of online and face-to-face groups.  

Learning

We’ve learnt so much in our time delivering groups. Some of the most important things for us are volunteers feel able, well and ready to volunteer. We have 2 volunteers on per group, there is always a backup volunteer. Supervision, support, and training are essential. The volunteers are clear on boundaries and what’s expected of them. The mums attending are given a code of conduct and they are clear on what they can expect from the group. There are some additional specifics for the trauma informed groups. To name a couple: group facilitators need to be specifically trained in trauma informed practice on top of their normal Juno training. The subjects being discussed are even more likely to cause distress, therefore it is important that group members feel ‘heard’ and their experiences validated without additional trauma to themselves and others. 

Impact

Implementing these various learnings all helped to create safer peer support groups, both for our attendees and volunteers. Our perinatal trauma-specific group has been used as a gold standard template for other peer support groups and has informed birth trauma groups within the NHS in Scotland. When we set up the trauma-specific group in 2018, there was no treatment on the NHS for birth trauma, and no other trauma-specific groups offered by any other third sector organisations in Edinburgh. At the time we were laughed at for talking about birth as something which could cause trauma. Now in 2023, birth trauma has finally officially become recognised in the NHS, and NHS Lothian set up an entire department last year dedicated to the treatment of birth trauma, including a birth trauma group.  We finally feel heard, validated and less alone! 

Everything was grey. I kept thinking that my child was going to die. I was given medication and counselling but all I wanted was to meet another mum who felt like I did. That was invaluable.

-Juno participant

For more information contact Juno through their website        

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