15 February 2019
2019 will see the launch of the UK’s first Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place between April 15th - 21st, thanks to the charity, Leo’s. The neonatal charity was established in 2018 by Lottie King, in memory of her son, Leo. Lottie's story was recently covered by the BBC and you can watch it here.
Leo's twin brother Oska survived, but as he was premature, had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for some time. Lottie therefore has firsthand experience of the lasting impact the trauma of a NICU stay can have on a person, and her charity is working hard to support families, "through premature and traumatic births, the neonatal unit and beyond."
Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week has been launched with the aim to raise awareness of how the stresses and strains of having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit can affect, not just the well being of parents, but also siblings and grandparents. More support and funding is needed for the families of those born too soon or too poorly to go home, and also for the medical teams caring for them. Leo's say:
"We want to utilise the week to share best practice between charities and units, raise more awareness and unite for better care."
Will you join them? We will, here's how you can help...
Add your voice
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, health care professional or carer, sharing your thoughts and experiences are the first step to helping make a positive change. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey, which closes on Monday.
See Leo's Suggestions
This document has lots of suggestions for how families, charities and neonatal units can get involved. From raising money for your NICU charity, to sharing your story, to random acts of kindness to help lift the spirits of others who are going through a difficult time.
Remember to follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates, and use #NICUMHAW when sharing what you are getting up to in support of Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week.