Teddy Bears’ Picnic set to launch new campaign to reduce perinatal mental health stigma in Southampton

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Southampton City Council is joining forces with charities, academics and health care professionals in the UK and Europe to raise awareness of, and reduce the stigma associated with, perinatal mental health illnesses that affect thousands of parents every year.

The council is a partner in a UK and Europe-wide project called PATH (PerinAtal menTal Health) which aspires to build a cross-country support network to help educate people about perinatal mental health, defined as “mild-to-moderate depression and/or anxiety” that can occur any time from conception of a baby to a year after the birth of a child.

The project will be launched in Southampton with a specially organised FREE Teddy Bears’ Picnic, hosted by the council’s Employment Support Team.

The team will play an active role in PATH by providing support, advice and guidance to empower affected Southampton-based parents, families and employers. The team will:

  • Provide access to local resources to enable new parents to return to work, including activities that develop employability skills and build confidence
  • Work with employers to upskill knowledge around perinatal mental health issues.
  • Develop a Perinatal Mental Health Charter, for employers to sign up to

Key to PATH’s initial success is bringing parents together to freely talk about anything they are finding difficult – from packing a bag to go out for coffee, to preparing to catch a bus with a little one – in accessible and informal local settings.

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic will be held in central Southampton and open to all, especially parents who might be struggling with their newborns, or are worried about leaving or returning to work, plus family members and friends who provide support.

Event details

  • Teddy Bears' Picnic – where your little ones (and their furry friends) are very welcome!
  • Free refreshments will be provided
  • Please let us know you're coming
  • West Park (opposite Southampton Central Library)
  • Tuesday 27 August, 12noon to 2pm

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Southampton City Council, said:

"PATH is a fantastic project which I'm proud the council can support. We all need to be more comfortable talking about perinatal mental health conditions and supporting those affected with practical and personalised solutions. This is where the Employment Support Team can contribute brilliantly, by helping both parents and employers, and facilitating the development of the Perinatal Mental Health Charter. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone come together and have some really useful conversations at our Teddy Bears’ Picnic in West Park on 27 August."

Councillor Dave Shields, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Southampton City Council, said:

"PATH will be a great addition to the support services offered by the council to increase the recognition and prevention of perinatal mental illnesses in Southampton. It will also be a great example of how talking about mental wellbeing is healthy and beneficial for both individuals and society. PATH joins projects including our forthcoming Time to Change Hub and wellbeing@work, which aim to reduce mental health stigma and encourage employers to support their staff’s health and wellbeing in the workplace."