Nurture provides targeted supports to those experiencing conception, pregnancy, and childbirth-related mental health illness, working with the individuals themselves, as well as their wider network of family and friends.
There is considerable societal pressure to view pregnancy and childbirth as universally happy events. While for many it is a joyful time, a significant number of women and their partners in Ireland experience conception, pregnancy, and childbirth-related maternal mental health issues. For these people, there is an overwhelming hopelessness associated with pre and post-natal depression that impacts not only women but also their partners, children, and other family members. Moreover, 3 to 4% of new mothers experience serious psychiatric complications. Unfortunately, a nine-month-long waiting list within the HSE means that mental health care is not always readily available, and delay in treatment can have serious consequences.
In the wake of two tragic suicides, Nurture was set up by Irene Lowry in 2011 to provide targeted maternal mental health support. Nurture operates a country-wide network of counsellors who receive specialised training, network support and client referrals. The counsellors provide one-to-one counselling and support groups for women and their partners, with the organisation offering support and advice within a 24 to 48-hour timeline, as well as emergency referral services. Additionally the organisation links in with other family support networks to provide wraparound services and help keep families together.
Nurture has supported over 600 women and 80 men in 22 counties with one-to-one counselling, as well as facilitating regular support groups. With a rapidly growing network of counsellors and increasing number of clients seeking support, Irene plans to continue to expand in order to provide services across Ireland. Although the clients are primarily women, Nurture also receives calls and provides services for the wider network of their partners, family and friends, often arranging access to additional support services where they are needed. Their powerful testimonials clearly demonstrate the necessity of this support and the difference it has made in their lives.