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Helpline for new dads with the (claret and) blues

Footballer signs autographsSouth Essex Partnership NHS Trust has launched a pioneering new helpline, Fathers Matter: In Tune with Dads, as part of the Trust's work around perinatal depression.

The help line is for men who may be suffering from depression following the birth of child. A number of fathers (who have come through depression themselves), male midwives and counsellors have been trained to staff an evening helpline to reach fathers who may be depressed.

The project, which will be based at Basildon MIND, arose out of the partnership's work with the local Maternity Unit on perinatal depression. It has already won a Queen's Nursing Institute Award and the prize money was used for the establishment of the line and the training of counsellors.

The project created a new tool - the Vulnerability Index - which midwives use when meeting expectant mothers to identify people at risk, including partners.

The helpine was launched last week with the help of West Ham footballers Steve Lomas, Christian Dailly and the mercurial genius that is Matthew Etherington. The picture shows Steve Lomas chatting to Mary Alabaster and her grandson Joshua.

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Page updated on December 1st, 2009