Young Mums Connect

Connecting young mothers and services to promote good mental health for the whole family.

Young Mums Connect is a three-year peer support project for young mothers (up to 25 years) that uses a creative, whole-family approach to mental health prevention within a community setting.

Delivered borough-wide in Royal Borough of Greenwich and city-wide across Nottingham City in partnership with local authority services and local third sector organisations MumsAid, Nottingham City Council and The Motherhood Group. This project is funded by the Mental Health Foundation Covid Response Programme.

“So, for me, it helped a bit to speak to someone and in the first, when I had the baby, I did feel a bit stressed and I did feel a bit alone and it did help” Mum from Young Mums Together Project.

The project uses a two-strand approach

1. Young Mums Together: a peer support intervention that includes weekly groups and a peer supporter pathway for young mums.

  • Weekly drop-ins sessions for local young mothers and their children using activities and discussion to address key risk factors common to single mothers, particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic mothers and mothers at risk of long term mental health conditions
  • Training for young mums who want to become peer-supporters within the Young Mums Groups.

2. National Workforce Training: a programme manual and training to upskill the workforce across health and social care settings to embed Young Mums Connect into existing service structures.

“It just helps me refocus because we can often forget, so it helps me refocus on me and my mental health and not just his. So, it is like good little reminders and I actually need that.” Mum from Young mums Together group

Our partners

MumsAid - specialist mental health charity embedded in Royal Borough of Greenwich offering support for families.

The Motherhood Group specialist CIC that accounts for the experience of black mothers in the UK

Nottingham City Council specifically delivering alongside the Early Help Team and delivering within the family Early Help Pathways

The evidence base

Developed from learnings and good practice identified through the Young Mums Together and Mums and Babies in Mind programmes (see links for further information and reports).

Young Mums Together highlighted the effectiveness of the Mental Health Foundation’s peer support model and resulted in positive outcomes for young mothers, including increased access to support; enhanced awareness of mental health and how to get help; reinforced sense of purpose and direction for the future and increased parental confidence. Young mums have shared their experience of why the Young Mums Together programme was so effective in a series of case studies.

The workforce training will be informed by health and social care teams across England.

 

What do we want to achieve through Young Mums Connect?

Young parents are at the heart of the Young Mums Connect programme and it aims to expand on the positive outcomes of previous programmes to:

  • Build young mums’ confidence as parents and help promote healthy parent-child bonding
  • Increase awareness and understanding of mental health risks a young mum might face and identify coping strategies
  • Increase the likelihood of help-seeking, where additional support and help may be needed
  • Enhance life chances through increased aspirations for the future

Sustainability and growth

Through national workforce training and accessible programme tools, key staff will continue to learn about and put into practice the Mental Health Foundation’s peer support approach within their localities.

Young mums share their stories

Naomi and Zach's story - Naomi is a young mum who had a difficult upbringing. But with the help of our Young Mums Together project, she has managed to change her life for the better. More on Naomi and Zach's story...
Alexa's blog - Alexa is 17 and attends our Young Mums’ Support Group. Her daughter Ruby is 15 months old. She received little help during her pregnancy and has struggled with mental health problems - particularly anger management. Becoming pregnant caused her a lot of anxiety heightened by practical insecurities. More on Alexa's blog...
Natasha's story: life as a young parent - Where should I start? Let’s go back to when I was a child. I have four siblings, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Life was alright, I remember playing a lot with them and obviously can’t forget the family day trips. Things at home started to not be so good and my sister had been removed and taken into foster care. Shortly after me and my brother followed. I was now aged 11.  More on Natasha's story...
Jess’s story: parenting and fear of lost identity - Have you ever had that dream where you’re falling? You awake with a start and a feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach. Most people just shake it off and dismiss the feeling, putting it down to eating too much cheese before bed or some other minor ailment. After the birth of my second child, I awoke like this every night for a number of months. However, I could never shake the feeling of unease. It stayed with me through every moment that society told me I should have been enjoying in those first few months with my new baby. More on Jess's story...

Useful links

  1. Pilot project – evaluation report (2013) 
  2. Young Mums Together | Mental Health Foundation 
  3. Mums and Babies in Mind project: Mums and Babies in Mind | Mental Health Foundation