Would you like to take part in making some films to help improve the mental health of expecting and new mothers? Many mums suffer with emotional and mental health problems when they are pregnant and after childbirth, affecting not just them but their partners and wider family. However there is help available that can make a big difference. Best Beginnings is making a set of short films to raise awareness of the mental health issues that can happen during pregnancy and in the postnatal period. They will show how emotional wellbeing and resilience can be supported at this time, and highlight the help that is available for mums and for dads/family supporting mum. The films will feature the stories of families who have experienced anxiety, depression or other mental health issues before or after their baby’s birth, and who are, with support, well on the journey to recovery. Some of the films we make will help mums, dads and families understand more about mental health issues, recognise symptoms and know where to go for support. Others will be used to help train midwives, health visitors and other professionals who support families.Could you help? We need your stories, to help us make these films. We are looking for single parents and couples who are willing to share their experiences on camera. Each story will help make sure that every viewer finds information that is relevant to them and helps them feels more able to look after their mental health. We are very keen to talk to mums and dads age 16+ who have experienced mental health issues during pregnancy and/or after the birth of their baby, and also to parents with longer-term mental health problems. You will have good ideas about what might help, or hinder, others going through the same thing. These films would be an opportunity to pass on your valuable insights and help support other families. What would be involved is 1 or 2 short filming sessions recording some of your memories and experiences. Some families who wish to do so may be given a camera to record a ‘video diary’ so that they can record their thoughts at a time that suits them. We are a small team of experienced film-makers. The head of Best Beginnings Alison Baum and film producer Jacqui Smith both worked at the BBC for many years, making programmes like Horizon and Tomorrow’s World. We know how challenging life can be during pregnancy and with a baby, and your wishes would be respected at all times. You would be given a copy of the final films and, if you wish, all the unedited footage of you and your baby, as a unique and lasting record. The films will be available online, on DVD and some of the content will also be available within Best Beginnings’ Baby Buddy phone apps. There will also be films for professionals available in secure online areas that will be used for training health and social care staff, and for helping to improve and develop services. If you are interested and would like to know more, we are very keen to talk to you. At this stage, it’s just a confidential chat – you are not committing yourself to being filmed. Please contact Anna Marriot, [email protected] or by phone 07525 422 308, or Tim Dowse, by email to [email protected] or by phone on 07949 656 447. Tim and Anna will be very happy to call you back. Many thanks.