Just one reason why NHS Scotland is amazing – Hayley Matthews

If your mind is troubled, speak out, urges Hayley Matthews.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 6:00 am
Post-natal depression can strike many new mothers

I’m sitting in a cafe writing this whilst jiggling the pram with my foot, sipping a hot coffee and trying to eat breakfast. Multi-tasking most definitely, at its finest.

I’m also about to see my counsellor, who is an incredible woman and has helped me rewire my unhelpful ways. Her name is Sharon and I genuinely don’t know where I would be without her help.

What I do know, is that her skills, experience and nurturing are all sought after massively as the ever growing list of people in need continues to rise. People who are in great need of help to stabilise their mental health. Believe me when I say the Sharons of the NHS should be recognised, cloned and put in every NHS establishment countrywide.

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Realistically, though, the closest we’ll get is more money to help support the Sharons out there, so they can support those in need. So the announcement ­midweek of £50 million of additional funding for mothers during and after pregnancy is ­wonderful and very welcome news.

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The amazing NHS Scotland helped me deal with post-natal depression after my first pregnancy and even more challenging, pre-natal depression and anxiety with baby No 2. The services available to women are there but, like any service that is in great need, they could use some extra pennies. I’m delighted about the extra funding and genuinely believe we’ll see the benefit for all mothers in the near future.

On the back of the announcement, BBC Radio interviewed me on Good Morning ­Scotland to talk about my experience of pre-natal depression story, which was in the press a few months ago, and also to share my thoughts about the funding. I was also on to talk about my experience in the hope that other mums out there will feel they can open up too.

Anyone who knows me will appreciate that I’m more than happy to talk about my mental health until the cows come home as I believe the more we all speak up, the more we can help each other.

Also, this would mean stronger ­parents, happier children and a more stable family unit for many in Scotland. I’m serious when I say if you see me in the street, stop me and chat if you’re struggling with mental health. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that.

Some people might find it strange that I’m happy to write about seeing a counsellor, and giving Sharon a shout out. I encourage us all to give our counsellors, therapists and psychiatric nurses a shout out, giving them the recognition they deserve. It would also mean a lot more should they feel they could open up about mental health without feeling ashamed.

We shouldn’t be embarrassed and here is why – would you feel embarrassment if you had a verruca the size of your hand and had to see a chiropodist, or you couldn’t make out the 21 bus from the 104 and had to book in with the opticians? So why the silence around mental health? Why do we feel we should stay silent when our minds are spiralling out of control, when our internal dialogue is off track or our heads are just pure mince? Now to me, that is crazy.

I’m no celebrity, but I do work in the public eye and try my best to use the platforms available to speak up and normalise mental health, in the hope that I can help others feel less alienated and able to speak out.

Being a mother is the most important job in the world, so let’s help all our mums out there in their time of need.