PND Borders is welcoming an announcement from the Scottish Government that it is to receive a share of £1 million annual funding from the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund.
The local charity, based in Galashiels, offers individual counselling and therapy for mothers in the Scottish Borders who are experiencing antenatal or postnatal depression or anxiety. Sessions are offered in blocks of 12 to 30 weeks depending upon individual need, and an onsite crèche is provided to make it easier for mothers to attend their appointments. Infant massage sessions are also available to mums and their new babies and a range of social support classes such as nutrition groups is also provided.
Depression and anxiety affect between 15-20% of women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year. Maternal mental health can have a significant impact on young families, so it is important that mothers are seen as quickly as possible. The Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund recognises the essential role that third sector organisations, including PND Borders, play in improving the life chances and wellbeing of pregnant women, new mums and their families.
Demand for this invaluable local service has increased over the last few years with the service steadily growing and expanding to meet the needs of new mothers and their families. The service currently operates two days a week and is staffed by a professionally qualified team which is comprised of a Clinical Manager, who is also an Art Therapist, another Art Therapist, two Counsellors, an Assistant Manager and a Creche Co-ordinator. The team is supported by a group of local volunteers who provide excellent support in the creche, as well as assisting with administrative tasks.
Barbara Wright, Chair of PND Borders said: “We are delighted that our application to the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund has been successful and that the Scottish Government has recognised the excellent work of PND Borders. We provide a vital service to families across the Scottish Borders and this funding provides us with a secure financial base for the next three years, ensuring families in our towns and rural communities will continue to be able to access the essential services we provide.”
PND Borders met the challenge posed by COVID-19 by switching from face to face appointments to telephone appointments in March 2020. The charity is now looking at slowly reopening the office with some new ways of working being introduced, including woodland walk and talk sessions and video conferencing using the NHS Attend Anywhere platform. Offering telephone and video conferencing appointments provides easier access to the service for clients in more remote areas of the Scottish Borders or who are unable to attend due to transport issues which allows more families to benefit.
Barbara says: “This is an exciting time for our employees as they embrace new technology and look at developing the service for the future. The Scottish Government funding allows the service to move forward on a steady financial footing and will help us to provide this vital service to as many families across the area as we can in the best possible way.”