What is Creating Connections and who is it helping?
We are working with the single parents’ charity Gingerbread to bring together over 200 single parents for self-management courses in Newport and Cardiff.
Research consistently shows that there is a higher prevalence of mental ill-health among single parents compared to couple parents. Single mothers have also been shown to have roughly three times the prevalence of depressive episodes compared with other groups.
In addition, our consultations have shown that many single parents experience social isolation, poverty, lack of confidence, stigma and a lack of opportunities for training and education. Poor parental mental health is also known to have a detrimental impact on the development of children.
Funded by the Big Lottery, Creating Connections will help address some of these issues by helping participants set goals which were previously unattainable, for example to re-train or start a business. Participants can then support each other to achieve these goals.
Self-management is about the methods, skills, and strategies we use to effectively manage our own activities towards achieving certain objectives. For those of us who live with long-term mental health conditions, this means concentrating on interventions and developing training and skills to take care of - and gain direct control over - our lives.
Bringing single parents together as a group reduces the likelihood of the onset of mental ill-health, while giving those who do have mental health problems the tools to improve their wellbeing.
"It has been an amazing experience and an opportunity that I have taken a lot away from, I have achieved things I never would have dreamed of! I have talked in front of groups of people, I have given presentations, I have organised events and facilitated workshops. I have attended training courses that I may never have found out about had I not attended the workshops, I have made new friends and built up a good support network and it has even helped me to gain employment."
As a result, single parents have reported greater confidence and self-esteem, reduced social isolation, increased control over their lives and ability to deal with negative emotions.
Many single parents have not had the chance to attend such a course or take part in support groups before, so this project enables them to take a first step towards improving their lives and gaining a more positive outlook for the future.