Sunderland walk to give post natal depression the Big Push

Julie Dugdale and Kimberley Porter-Brannon from Puddle Ducks North East and Alison Abbott and Melissa Unsworth from Puddle Ducks Tees Valley with their children Alex, Oliver and baby Max
Julie Dugdale and Kimberley Porter-Brannon from Puddle Ducks North East and Alison Abbott and Melissa Unsworth from Puddle Ducks Tees Valley with their children Alex, Oliver and baby Max

A walk to raise awareness of post natal depression made a splash in a Sunderland park.

The Big Push, organised by the National Childbirth Trust, took place in Herrington Country Park.

Puddle leads the way at the Big Push.

Puddle leads the way at the Big Push.

Backed by Puddle Ducks North East, a company that specialised in child swimming sessions, Puddle the Duck was there to lead the way during the walk.

Parents and families took part in a 5k walk and buggy push, followed by a fun day with stalls, activities, rides and a picnic in the Wearside park.

It was held not only to raise money and awareness of maternal mental health, but also for the #hiddenhalf campaign, which highlights the issues dads can face when a new baby arrives.

Julie Dugdale from Puddle Ducks, said: “As a business we have been supporting the NCT for some time, and we were delighted to be able to get involved with this event.

Post natal depression is very common and yet there is still a stigma attached to it

Julie Dugdale

“Post natal depression is very common and yet there is still a stigma attached to it, so campaigns like The Big Push are really important to get the word out that there is help available.

“Working with parents and babies in the water every day we try to positively encourage bonding through relaxing and having fun, so this cause is very close to our hearts.”

According to the NCT it is estimated that one in 10 women experience post natal depression, and it can also affect fathers and partners.

Alison Stephenson, NCT regional co-ordinator, said: “This form of depression can happen gradually or all of a sudden, and it can range from being relatively mild to extremely hard hitting.

Alison Stephenson, NCT regional co-ordinator with Puddle.

Alison Stephenson, NCT regional co-ordinator with Puddle.

“We want to be able to give all new parents the friendly support they need to become confident in caring for their baby and themselves.

“Help us to give help to those suffering alone – let’s give loneliness the big push and get mental illness out of hiding.”

The money raised will be used to develop perinatal mental health awareness workshops and provide a range of practical resources to be distributed across the NCT’s UK-wide network.

The NCT works with Puddle Ducks to provide swimming teachers with the knowledge and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of different mental health issues and signpost parents to specialist services.

Puddle Ducks take a holistic approach to a mum’s physical and mental wellbeing, providing ante natal swimming classes during pregnancy, and infant swimming lessons that give both mums and dads the opportunity to bond with their baby.

For more information visit www.puddleducks.com or www.nct.org.uk/about-big-push.