Have you seen that girl? designed Bags of Hope to be given to mums and dads to raise awareness of the importance of Mental health and wellbeing, as a parent.
Becoming a Mum or Dad is a major life change. Being a Mum or Dad is not always easy or straightforward, whether you struggle with a mental health issue or not. Everyday is different – some are fun and fulfilling, others can be long and lonely. We experience so many different emotions – excitement, joy and pride in our little ones; to being afraid, anxious and overwhelmed – sometimes all in the space of 24 hours!
Bags of Hope are simply an encouragement, and a reminder, that even on the darkest days there is light & hope and that you are not alone.
The bags were crowdfunded and have also been supported by a number of local businesses.
What’s in the Bags?
Have you seen that girl? leaflet – some of my PND story and where to find help & support. These were kindly printed by NI Design at a very generous discount! It’s also available as a free download here
A Candle – A reminder that even on the longest, hardest and darkest days there is light & hope. These have been kindly sponsored by Give INC which is a group of local women who meet on a voluntary basis and pool their money (£1 per day or £30) to support individual or organisations in need.
Have you seen that girl? colouring book & pencils – colouring is a great way for relaxing your mind. I’m delighted that these have been personally designed for us by Molly Cara Murray, a local young women who is an art student at the Ulster University.
Chocolate & Sweets – kindly donated by Lynas Food Service.
Voucher for Tribal Fitness Session – a chance to get out and meet others mum and their little ones and get some exercise/fresh air!
Other Vouchers (depending on location)
What do parents say about them?
“I have found the Bag of Hope a real help in my recovery. Not only was it full of useful information to help me understand more about where I could get help but the special touches of the other items have been so lovely. It’s not usual for mums to treat themselves (and I was no different!) however I found the items such as candle, herbal teas and chocolate to be just that – a special treat that I could sit, enjoy, and spend some time to myself for a change and to really think and enjoy the moment. Receiving the Bag of Hope was such an important milestone for me in admitting to myself that I wasn’t ok and enabled me to take that first and most important step in my recovery as I now felt able to reach out and get some help. I have no doubt that the Bags of Hope will continue to help families throughout NI and I will be forever grateful to Lindsay who created them and helped me take that first, important step in my recovery. ” (Mum, Sarah from Magherafelt).
“Receiving a Bag of Hope was a lifeline for me. It helped me to remember that I’m not alone and that other mums to feel like this. My favourites are the chocolate and the candle but I also think the leaflet is very helpful, as I was able to check out the other organisations in mentions and find support in new places too.” (Mum, Helen, from Coleraine)
“It’s so easy to put yourself last, when you have little ones. To forget to take time for you and look after your own needs. The Bag of Hope reminded me that I’m also important and it’s okay to talk about how I’m feeling and also make time to do things I enjoy, just for me, every so often. I asked for one for my friend (a very new mum) who I know is having a hard time and I was able to give one to her too. She loved it! Thank you, to Have you seen that girl and Lindsay for these!” (Mum, Ashley from Belfast)
Where have they reached?
Bags of Hope began in 2016 and were officially launched in 2017, at an event in The Merchant Hotel Belfast, for World Maternal Mental Health Day.
Since then, almost 3000 Bags of Hope have been delivered all over Northern Ireland. I’m thankful to local groups who’ve held events specifically to fundraise for the Bags of Hope, and all those who have donated towards them.
I have delivered these to mums personally, as I’ve organised events or been invited to speak at others. They have also reached mums/parents in partnerships with other organisations, which has been a highlight of the work.
Here’s some of the partnership for the Bags of Hope –
– Tiny Life
– Sure Starts
– Via Health Visitors
– Place of Grace
– Centred Soul
– WRDA & Women’s Centres across Northern Ireland
– Tribal Fitness
– Bambino Massage
– Moment Health
– Daisy Foundation
– Baby Zone
– Teenie Tots (Portstewart)
– Calm & Connected
– British Red Cross (South Belfast)
– Belfast City Mission
– NCT NI – Tyrone, Armagh and Down Branch
From 2019, due to funding and time constraints, Bags of Hope will only be available via events or engagements which I am personally involved with e.g. events which are organised by myself (or in partnership with others), those I am invited to speak at or to attend. On most occasions a donation towards the Bags of Hope and the work of Have you seen that girl? will be required. (I will also continue to provide Bags of Hope to individuals mums who are struggling, either personally or via someone who requests one to pass on).
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.