Pre and postnatal depression
support services

0121 301 5990
Click here to view and share our new multilingual short films Acacia Family Support - Ante and postnatal depression support services

Help for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Mums / Dads and People of Colour

Welcome to Acacia's dedicated section for mums and dads who are people of colour and/or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. We are here to help you.  You don't have to go through this on your own.  If you would like to use our service please complete the secure online self referral form below.  If you are finding this difficult just give us a ring on 0121 301 5990, email us at or use the link here to ask us a question.

On these pages we have tried to pull together some information to help you.  Please click on any of the links below to find video's, information and free downloadable stuff specifically designed for people of colour/BAME.  Please remember that the use of these resources is not intended to be a substitute for a consultation with a healthcare provider/professional and it must not be automatically assumed that Acacia Family Support endorses any or all of the providers and/or services in this list.  We recommend that you contact a healthcare professional if you are concerned about your health.  Also, please check out the information at the bottom of the page for help if you or your partner are feeling really unwell at the moment.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find some video's of mums' stories.  These mums have experienced postnatal depression and anxiety and have recovered from it.  You can too, you just need to get some help and start putting one foot in front of the other.  This is a temporary illness and we're here to help you get better.

Whilst we continue to use the BAME acronym out of convenience it can sometimes give the impression that we are lumping large numbers of people together as a single entity.  We would like to assure you that this is not true and  we do not allow the humanity, the complexity, the experiences and identities of people to get swallowed up in this four letter acronym.   We recognise that different families/communities/cultures are made up of individuals and we therefore resist ascribing pre-conceived ideas and approaches based purely on a person's racial/cultural grouping.

Maternal/paternal mental health problems, or perinatal mental health problems as they're often called, are more common than you think. In fact one in 5 new mums experience them and up to one in 10 new dads and partners. These mental health problems can range from anxiety, low mood and depression to more severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychosis. Some will have suffered mental health problems before but, for others, symptoms are new and frightening for the whole family.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems during pregnancy and new parenthood, with around 12% of women and 6% of men experiencing depression and 13% women or 6.5% men experiencing anxiety at some point; many will experience both. People who are experiencing depression/anxiety have a number of changes to their mood, their thinking, their behaviour and their bodily functioning which persist for weeks or months and which can lead to major disruption in their lives.

The other mental health problems like panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, postpartum psychosis, exacerbation of eating disorders and tokophobia (fear of giving birth) are less common but still account for up to 8 percent of all new birthing parents and can also affect their partners. It is important to remember that all of these problems, even the most severe, are usually temporary with the right treatment and support.

The parents who experience perinatal mental health problems cannot control their symptoms on their own. It is not their choice and will require love, patience, understanding and support to get them through this. The symptoms may lead to poor bonding with the baby and difficulties with breastfeeding (which can itself lead to distress, anxiety and low mood).

Good parental mental health is very important for the the development of the baby before and after birth. This makes it really important to recognise the problem quickly, to talk about it, and to get help. Having a baby is a highly stressful time, fuelled by sleep deprivation and the huge increase in responsibility that comes with a baby. Nothing quite prepares you for this and it can often contribute to mental health problems.

The most common symptoms can include persistent feelings of sadness and low mood, poor concentration, feeling unable to cope, loss of interest in sex, tiredness, avoiding contact with people, change in appetite, loss of pleasure in normally enjoyed activities, unable to get out of bed, thoughts of suicide and/or harming self and/or the baby.

Anxiety symptoms can also include feeling persistently afraid, worried, nervous, on edge, detached, panicky. You may also find it hard to learn and apply the skills of parenthood and get into an effective routine, start to feel that the family would be better off without you, have frequent worries about the health and welfare of the baby, have persistent, intrusive and frightening thoughts that you or they might harm baby constantly think things like, "I'm a terrible parent/person" or "They're going to take my baby away."

You may feel very isolated and alone, not knowing who you can talk to about them and whether they're normal. One of the worst fears is often whether you and your partner will ever be able to return to the way you were before, or is this the way it will always be from now on?

You are unlikely to experience all of the symptoms at the same time but if you recognise yourself amongst them please don't ignore it. This Q&A section will help give you some basic advice about what to do and the links on this page offer free services of who can help.

Anybody can get mental health problems when having a baby, at any time of life, irrespective of gender, age, culture or social background. It happens to men as well as women and is really common. It's important to keep in mind that this is not a sign of a 'weak character' or other inadequacy. Many gifted, successful and powerful people have experienced mental health problems in their lives. Additional risk factors include: if a close relative has experienced mental health problems, psychological make up and personality, major life events, physical illnesses, isolation, relationship breakdown, money worries, struggling with gender and/or sexuality.

There are many types of perinatal mental health problems and most of them include some aspect of depression and/or anxiety. Most of them can affect both parents.

Postpartum Psychosis is a rare but serious and potentially life threatening mental health issue. It takes the form of severe depression or mania or both. For the few women who experience postpartum psychosis, it occurs in the first 3 months after birth, usually within the first 2 weeks and develops rapidly.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events such as traumatic labour/birth. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks and may experience feelings of isolation, anger, frustration, disappointment, irritability and guilt.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which causes people to experience obsessive thoughts followed by compulsive behaviours. Obsessions are overwhelming unwanted thoughts which cause anxiety, disgust or unease and lead to the need to carry out activities usually repetitively in an attempt to temporarily relieve the distressing feelings of the obsessive thoughts.

Tokophobia is a specific phobia of childbirth ie an overwhelming, debilitating fear of childbirth, which can be so intense that pregnancy and/or childbirth is avoided.

Postnatal Depression (PND) and Anxiety PND is a type of mood disorder which is usually accompanied by increased anxiety. It can range from mild to severe and occur any time from pregnancy up to 2 years following birth. Sometimes anxiety can be the dominant symptom.

Pre/postnatal depression/anxiety (PND) is the most common perinatal mental health problem and accounts for almost two-thirds of all recorded cases of perinatal problems. In addition many cases of PND/Anxiety go undiagnosed as parents try to just press on through! PND is a depressive illness which develops in parents before or after childbirth. Anxiety is almost always a component of PND and sometimes the anxiety is the dominant symptom. In some parents it happens fairly suddenly and usually within a few weeks after giving birth. They often describe it as "like a switch has been turned off." In others it develops gradually over a period of weeks and may not be noticed by those around them for quite some time. It can occur at any time in the first year or so and in some parents it can actually start during pregnancy.

Postnatal depression may last for weeks or months and in some it may last into the child's second year if not detected and treated adequately. The symptoms a parent will experience are very much the same as those of depression generally. The important difference with postnatal depression is that there is a new and dependant baby in the mix. Also, postnatal depression develops at a time when parents usually anticipate pleasure and fulfilment in the experience of parenthood and this can add additional pressure to ignore and play the symptoms down and pretend everything is alright.

The good news is that perinatal mental health problems can be treated. Most parents make a full recovery and, as with all health conditions, the sooner they are recognised, and appropriate help is sought, the better.

At the milder end of the scale, measures aimed at giving parents some space to talk about their feelings along with increasing practical and social support are helpful. This can be achieved through enlisting the help of family and friends to relieve some of the practical load or to spend time providing a non-judgemental listening ear and encouragement. It is worth googling your local voluntary organisations and Home-Start as these can play very useful roles in recovery. You can also use click here to use the Hearts and Minds locator Map to search for local groups. Just enter your postcode.

Further on up the scale antidepressants or other medications are often useful and sometimes more specialist psychological help such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These can usually be arranged through the GP (or local IAPT service) along with more specialist support for those with higher needs.

For the most poorly parents treatment may include referral to the community specialist perinatal team and/or to the Mother and Baby Unit where they can receive more intensive specialist support for themselves and baby. Referrals can be made by your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP.

A usual episode of depression/anxiety will generally resolve within a matter of weeks or months. Recovery rarely follows a smooth path and typically involves ups and downs. The best advice is to take it one day at a time.

More severe mental health problems may vary in duration but the sooner help is sought, and begins, the sooner things will start to improve.

The first step is to recognise and acknowledge that you are ill right now and that you need help. This is sometimes really difficult but remember you are not being selfish in doing this. It will be impossible for you to look after your baby and your family if you are struggling yourself. This season will pass and it's great you've taken the first step to get a bit more information on how you can help yourself. Just remember to take it easy on yourself and not to set the bar too high during this difficult time.

Use the links on this website and watch some of the video's of other mums at the bottom of the page who have been through similar experiences. There are also some father's stories at the bottom of the Acacia Dads page. You can access the dads stories by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

The GP, Midwife and Health Visitor are key people to speak to. Be totally honest about how you are feeling. You won't be saying anything that they haven't heard before and the sooner you can get some help the sooner you can start the journey back to wellness.

Try to do some regular exercise and relaxation activities - as much as time will allow right now. After all a baby gives you a good reason for a walk around your local park, which will also give you some much needed time to yourself.

It might sound simple but it's so important to maintain a healthy(ish) diet and eat regularly - don't skip breakfast! Your brain and your body needs energy if you want it to function well and cope with increased stress.

Find someone to confide in about it. A close friend or family member perhaps. If you live in Birmingham, Acacia provides such a service. If you live elsewhere please click here to visit the Hearts and Minds Map to see what's available locally to you.

Most importantly don't try to sweep it under the carpet.

Don't put it off any longer to get the ball rolling. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your new baby to ensure that you're well and at your best right now. If you feel like you are struggling check out what's available.

View our pages in different languages using Google Translate
To view these pages in your preferred language click here to visit Google Translate.   Then all you need to do is cut and paste our website page  in the little blue box and click on the blue arrow.    This will re-open our page with the Google Translate toolbar at the top of the page where you can click on the language and change it to the one you prefer.

Local Support From Acacia If You're Living In Birmingham
If you would like to use our service you can fill in a secure self referral form by clicking on the link below.   if you have difficulty writing in English and would prefer to ring us please phone 0121 301 5990 and someone from Acacia will ask you the questions over the phone and complete the self referral form for you.   If you would just like to ask us a question please click here.

If you would like to view the form in your own language please use the links in the section above to choose the language you'd like before you click on this link.  Unfortunately,  we apologise that whilst you can view the form in your chosen language you must still complete the English version stating your answers in English.  So you may need to get a friend or a family member to help you with that.   If you can't do that, please ring our admin team on 0121 301 5990 and they will arrange an interpreter to help you access our service.

Self Referral
Local Support Outside Birmingham
If you live in the UK outside of Birmingham please click here to go to the Hearts and Minds map of local support groups around the country.  All you need to do is put in your postcode and the map will show you what's available locally to you.  Unfortunately the page is only currently available in English.

Perinatal Positivity - short perinatal health awareness raising films in many languages.
Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the Bengali, Arabic, Urdu and English versions of this great short awareness raising film.

Also, you can use these links to access the film with the following other translations:
 ( Tigriniya??) ( Spanish) ( Gujrati) ( Pashto) ( Somali) ( Lithuanian) ( mandarin) ( Albanian) ( Punjabi) ( hindi) ( Turkish) ( Romanian) ( Farsi)  ( French) ( Portuguese)
Raham Project
A group for mothers and their partners of ethnic minority backgrounds.  This group is dedicated to all things related to pregnancy, childbirth and the post birth period - with an emphasis on maintaining and improving mental wellbeing.  The group was created by a Peterbourough based midwife but the information is available to everyone wherever you live.

Visit their facebook page for video's and other information

Click here to vist the Facebook page

You can also follow the Raham Project on:   


The Refugee Council
The Refugee Council is a leading charity working with refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. Founded in 1951, following the creation of the UN Refugee Convention, we exist to support and empower people who have made the heart breaking decision to flee conflict, violence and persecution in order to rebuild their lives here in the UK.We work with over 13,000 women, men and children each year who are desperately seeking safety. From the moment refugees arrive in the UK – we are here:
  • We provide crisis advice, mental health counselling and practical support to help people settle and integrate into their new community
  • We are specialists in working with refugee children who arrive in the UK alone
  • We work with refugees and our partners to fight for improvements to the asylum protection system
  • We inspire change in attitudes towards refugees and people seeking asylum – speaking out for compassion fairness and kindness.
Click Here to Visit Our Website

Resources to Improve Access to Primary Care for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
In partnership with City University London, the Refugee Council have developed some practical resources to support refugees and asylum seekers to access primary healthcare.

Click here to download the resources in various languages
Acacia Leaflets
Acacia produces two leaflets specifically aimed at south Asian families.  They can be downloaded below.  We also produce hard copies.  If you would like to obtain any of our leaflets or booklets please get in touch.  Please note that for larger quantities we may need to make a charge.

Coronavirus and your pregnancy - free guides from Birmingham Women's Hospital
We understand that you will be worried about the physical impact of coronavirus on your pregnancy and your baby. These leaflets aim to provide you with information about coronavirus, your pregnancy care and changes Birmingham Women's Hospital have made to maternity services during the coronavirus outbreak to keep you and your baby safe.

Please click on the links below to download the free information in your language.– English – Arabic – Bengali – Urdu – Somalian
Easy to understand guides on being pregnant and becoming a mum during Covid
Please click on the links below to view and download these great booklets
Produced through a joint initiative between: Cheshire and Wirral Partnership, Mersey Care and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trusts. Produced June 2020.

Being pregnant - preparing to give birth

Having a new baby is big life changing event. This booklet aims to help you identify simple steps to care for your wellbeing and prepare to give birth. Lots of mums have continued to have babies safely and happily during the pandemic.

Being With Your Baby… Becoming a Mum

You are now or about to become a mum to a new baby, maybe for the first time or again.  These are very unusual times. This booklet aims to share good ideas and words of encouragement as you enter into this next stage to discover yourself as a mum, get to know and bond with your baby.

Information, education & opportunity for people of colour during Covid
Spark and Co. is a Community Interest Company that supports people of colour in the UK by providing information, education & opportunity.  Their goal is to tackle inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19 by equipping people with knowledge, information & resources which are appropriate for their individual needs accross a very broad range of subjects.

Click here to access Spark's resource page.
Acacia general resources
Click on this link below to go to Acacia's general help and support resources page (all resources are in English)
Basic information about postnatal depression in different languages
Please click on the links below to access two basic information sheets for families in many languages which are available from Medline Plus. 

Emotional changes after birth
Postpartum depression (PND)

Both of these fact sheets provide a very brief look at some of the feelings a mum can face after giving birth.  The sheets both point out that if the feelings are severe or last longer than a couple of weeks there may be a more serious problem.  
Medication Fact Sheets
Below you will find viewable and downloadable handy factsheets on the two most commonly used medicines for PND/Anxiety.  Please click on the link to open the factsheet.  These are written in English

For information on other medications (written in English) which may be used during pregnancy or in the postnatal period please
click here to visit NHS24 and search for the factsheet you are looking for.

Alternatively, if you are currently pregnant you can also click here to visit Bumps and search for information on the use of most medications (written in English).

A range of medication information leaflets in many different languages are available by clicking here and then searching for the correct leaflet in your language.
W Mids Marriage and Honour Based Abuse 24 Hour Multi Lingual Helpline
  • Do you feel under pressure to get married?
  • Are you afraid that you will bring shame and dishonour to your family?
  • Are you facing or have gone through a forced marriage or honour abuse? 
  • Are you from the LGBTQI community and fear the consequences of coming out and reporting forced marriage or honour abuse?
  • Do you live in Birmingham or the West Midlands?

You are not alone  

If you are worried about yourself, or are concerned about someone you know being at risk of forced marriage or honour based abuse, the multi lingual helpline is here to support you. Offering confidential, empathic, non-judgemental emotional and practical support over the phone.   You can call 24 hours, day or night.  If you would like to discuss your options, access immediate emergency refuge, or simply ask questions or tell us how you are feeling please ring 0800 953 9777 now.  

Click on the link below for more information:
Parenting Courses for Muslim Families
Approachable Parenting offers a variety of services, including recognized evidence based parenting courses, for the needs of Muslim families.  Click here to visit the website.

Click here to visit Approachable Parenting's Facebook page.
Bharosa culturally appropriate domestic abuse support
Bharosa is a domestic abuse service for ethnic minority women (particularly those from a South Asian background) living in Birmingham.We provide a free service which is confidential and unbiased for women and young girls over the age of 16, who are experiencing any form of domestic abuse.  The service we provide is culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of the women that we support, and in a range of cultural languages.You can contact Bharosa yourself, or you can ask for an organisation or individual, such as a social care worker, doctor, health visitor, or family friend to contact us on your behalf.You can also contact us by completing the referral form and emailing it to us.Contact usWe are available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4 pm on Fridays.
Am I in an abusive relationship?
Everyone has arguments, and everyone disagrees with their partners, family members and others close to them from time to time. And we all do things at times that we regret, and which cause unhappiness to those we care about. But if this begins to form a consistent pattern, then it is an indication of domestic violence and abuse.

Please click on the link below to visit the Women's Aid site where you can try the quick self assessment and also get information, advice and support.

Click here to visit Women's Aid
Bethel Doula Service for vulnerable and isolated pregnant women
The Bethel Doula service provides support to vulnerable and isolated pregnant women in Birmingham during their pregnancies, their childbirth and after their babies have been born. Our staff and team of experienced Senior Doulas and Volunteer Doulas help service users by:
  • meeting with and listening to each new service user to assess their needs
  • being a supportive and friendly birth partner
  • helping women to attend medical appointments
  • arranging essentials such as baby clothes, nappies and Moses baskets
  • providing breast feeding support
  • hosting a weekly Mother & Baby group
  • running a fortnightly Parent Education & Health class
  • providing friendly emotional and practical support
  • helping to access other local support services
For more information click on this link:
or ring 0121 306 0111
When Your Baby Won't Stop Crying
When your baby won't stop crying it can seem unbearable.  So many parents experience this.  Please don't worry.  Hopefully this information will help you to cope.

Babies cry for many reasons. They are hardwired to cry whenever they need a parent to help them out because their brains have yet to develop the circuits that allow for self-control or understanding. Remember, crying is meant to be upsetting for a parent, that is Nature’s way of making sure they pay attention fairly promptly.

A cry might signal many things, discomfort and startle are common examples. Sometimes, though babies cry for no reason at all and sometimes they cry and just cannot be settled. This may be upsetting for both baby and parent, but it causes no harm and it will eventually cease. After about 5 months the experts say that crying becomes more ‘purposeful’. That means after 5 months of age, your baby is more likely to to be crying for a reason.

It is a good idea to have a think about how you can help yourself cope at this time before it happens. This will really help you to cope.

Think about the following things and you may want to write them down:

• Who can I go to for help with crying?
• What will I do if I need a few minutes to myself?
• What makes me feel better?
• What makes me feel calmer?

The normal crying pattern shows us how babies start to cry more frequently at about 2 weeks of age. The crying may get more frequent and last longer during the next few weeks, hitting a peak at about 6 – 8 weeks, sometimes a little later. Every baby is different but after about 2 – 3 months, be encouraged, babies start to cry less and less each week.

Unfortunately, infant crying is normal so you can expect it to be a little rocky right now.  It will get better, so hang on!

  • Infant crying is normal and it will stop! Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age. Click on this LINK to read more about infant crying.
  • Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop. Is the baby hungry, tired or in need of a nappy change? Click on this LINK  to download some comfort techniques.
  • It’s okay to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you it's really important that you realise this. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on the baby.
  • Never, ever shake or hurt a baby. It can cause lasting brain damage and death.


Joshna's Story
Maria's Story
Perinatal Positivity in English
Shabina's Story
Perinatal Positivity - Bengali
Perinatal Positivity in Urdu
Perinatal Positivity in Arabic
Hope and the Black Balloon
Please remember that Acacia is not a crisis service and if you are feeling really unwell with your mental health and are concerned you must contact your GP or mental health professional as soon as possible.   If you feel like you are suffering a mental health crisis: 
  • In a life-threatening situation call 999.
  • In Birmingham and Solihull you can ring 0121 262 3555 to access the new 24/7 NHS urgent mental health helpline for all ages.  You can use this helpline to get expert advice and assessment for children and adults and you can call for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
  • If you live outside Birmingham the link is here to find your local urgent helpline. Just enter your postcode and it then gives you the right phone number.    
  • You can also call 111 or request an urgent GP appointment.
  • Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Just text SHOUT to 85258.  The text is free and anonymous on all major UK networks.
  • Alternatively, in Birmingham and Solihull please contact your mental health crisis team:
                For Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT - 25yrs and over) call 0121 301 5500.
                For Forward Thinking Birmingham (24 yrs and younger) 0300 300 0099.

  • and if you have a Midwife and/or Health Visitor contact them as a matter of urgency.

If you live in Birmingham and need help?

Need Help? If you need help or support or have any questions please call.
0121 301 5990
or click here to email us

If you live outside of Birmingham and need help?

View the website If you need help or support please visit the Hearts and Minds website.