Perinatal mental health championed in red letter box campaign

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by Charlie Spargo

Red Letter Days, PANDAS and Mush have together launched the #HeyMum campaign featuring red postboxes popping up around the UK, with its flagship activation in London.

To recognise perinatal depression in the run-up to Mothers' Day, the three organisations want to support and empower new mums who might be feeling isolated in the early days of motherhood.

With one in five new mothers experiencing pre- or postnatal mental health problems - and 56% of parents with children under five admitting to experiencing loneliness - Red Letter Days are encouraging mums across the country to send words of support and solidarity by dropping an envelope into one of the 20 postboxes around the country.

Alison Vickery, Marketing Director at Red Letter Days, said: “Becoming a Mother is an exciting and joyful occasion but it’s also incredibly common for new mothers to feel isolated, anxious or lonely. We’re encouraging mums who have experienced the pressures, highs and lows of motherhood to write a heartwarming message to another mother who is just starting out on their parenting journey.

"Your act of solidarity could make a huge difference to your fellow mum’s day, week, month and maybe even their year; and will remind them that they’re doing a fantastic job and are far from alone.

“It only takes a minute to write a card and share a story or some words of advice; so we’d be delighted to see mums across the UK taking the time to get involved. Help us make Mother’s Day about more than just our own mums, but all mums, by celebrating the love and kindness we can show one another whilst raising awareness for a worthwhile cause.”

Annie Belasco, Head of Charity at the PANDAS Foundation, a maternal mental health charity, added: “The PANDAS Foundation exists to support and advise any parents who are experiencing perinatal mental illness. We work to guide, inform and support sufferers and their families and ensure that nobody feels alone. We offer a free helpline, as well as dedicated support groups across the UK. 

“We’re really excited to be partnered with Red Letter Days on their Mother’s Day campaign this year, as it’s so important to talk about perinatal illness in the mainstream and remind parents that it’s okay not to be okay when you have a new baby. The common narrative is that this should be the happiest time in a woman’s life; but the reality is less glamorous. Perinatal illness is more common than many realise; and struggling with your mental health doesn’t make you a bad mother. Far from it.

“It’s so important to talk to one another, share honest stories (warts and all) and show support to friends, family and even total strangers in order to remove the stigma around mental health and motherhood and show that no parent is perfect. We hope this campaign will raise essential awareness for perinatal illness so we can help more families up and down the country to take care of their mental health.”

Katie Massie-Taylor, Co-founder of Mush, the app that helps mums connect with other mums, said: “Mush was born out of my own desire for company and connection when I had a newborn. It can be a desperately lonely and exhausting time; and in fact I don’t think there’s any other time in my life when I’ve so badly craved support, yet felt so isolated.

“The campaign is fantastic as it will help new mums realise that they’re really not alone, even if it often feels like it. There are so many things I know now that I wish someone had told me when I had a newborn; and this letter-writing initiative is the perfect way to share those pearls of wisdom and knowledge with like-minded mums who’ll really appreciate your time, care and insights. It’s not about telling women how to mother their child (only they know how to do that) but reminding them that their best is more than good enough and there’s a whole network of women out there who’ve got their back.”