Young Mums Together report

The Young Mums Together (YMT) project was designed as an innovative intervention to support young mothers and to improve their wellbeing.

The project ran across four London boroughs and was centred on two core components – weekly drop-in sessions and a peer support approach.

Aims

The evaluation aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the project. It also sought to determine the impact of the project on four outcomes: parental confidence, resilience, mental health and future prospects.

Method

The evaluation adopted a mixed-methods approach. For the qualitative component, interviews were conducted with young mums and a range of stakeholders, including facilitators.

Results

Across the three-year period, 51 mothers completed questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. Significant data limitations, including high levels of missing data across outcomes, meant that a quantitative analysis of the data was not undertaken.

The qualitative analysis from interviews with mothers demonstrated that participants felt that the groups helped to: develop parental confidence by reinforcing a sense of purpose; increase resilience through discussion among peers; improve mental health awareness through psychoeducation around risk factors; and encourage mothers’ hopes about the future through practical advice and information-sharing.

The process evaluation highlighted key determinants of the groups’ success, including group dynamics and resources. There were several recommendations, including the importance of co-production to inform all aspects of the evaluation (including data collection).

Discussion

The role of the facilitator and their ability to manage the interpersonal dynamics are integral to the success of the project, as are consistent attendance and resource availability.

Given the target population, the recruitment of participants to the evaluation (and their retention) is a challenge and further thought needs to be given to engaging young mothers in future evaluations.

Conclusion

Positive effects on participants were identified, which may have been caused by the programme’s focus on peer support. Projects such as YMT have the potential to improve wellbeing, though further evaluations incorporating the recommendations identified are required to establish their effects.

Definition of ‘young mums’

This study categorises young mums as 25 years or under at the time of pregnancy. Young adulthood is often described as ranging from 18 to 26 years old, although it has been argued that an expanded, more inclusive definition of adolescence should be 10 to 24 years of age.

We need your help

We want a world with good mental health for all. To achieve this, we need to continue our work with the groups most vulnerable to mental health problems, such as young mothers. We can't do this without your help - please consider a donation today.

Donate now