Fears for future of Gala-based post natal service

THE support group for families with post natal depression (PND) has enough money to run until April next year, writes Sally Gillespie.

But after that the Galashiels-based PND Project Borders has to rely on more people giving it the £30,000 it needs to run the badly-needed service.

The charity’s Jenny Copsey said: “We have no more money after that. We literally live hand to mouth trying to raise money and getting money now is quite difficult. We have no statutory funding whatsoever.”

The charity is receiving about three referrals a week from mothers or fathers suffering the debilitating condition. And while the local NHS and council’s social work department refer people they do not put money into the service.

Ms Copsey said: “We have been incredibly well supported and helped financially and practically by the local community through volunteering and money raising since we started planning (the service).

“The NHS and social work very much support us and refer people directly to us. The people who use us are very supportive. We have been amazed by the amount of people contributing to us because of their gratitude and the churches have been very generous.”

PBD Project Borders, which opened at the end of March, came about after the Church of Scotland pulled the plug on a similar service, Crossreach, last year.

About 30 people have come forward for help and the charity, which has three counsellors, is able to see 15 of them during the one and a half days a week of individual and group therapy it offers. There is a waiting list of six and the project hopes to offer infant massage and rhyme time to try to support the people waiting for the next available therapist, said Ms Copsey. It also hopes to set up outreach groups.

At the charity’s recent AGM, Ms Copsey said: “Offering therapeutic support to a person who is depressed in the early stages after giving birth has been shown to be the most effective aid to long term recovery.

“Tragic consequences can be avoided if help is offered in time. An important factor is to help establish the vital bond between mother and baby. Research has also shown that later difficulties in the child’s development can be avoided by creating secure family relationships.”

A supporter recently raised nearly £2,000 walking the St Cuthbert’s Way.

Anyone wanting to volunteer and help with money should contact the charity on 01896 751609.