Mums Catrin O'Hara, Kara Gray and Fairth Walker, with their children Lucy, Oscar, Willow and Faith, place supporting messages on the neonatal unit's new Tree of Hope.
April 26, 2019
Tree of Hope supports parents' mental health on Glan Clwyd neonatal ward
Families of babies cared for at Glan Clwyd Hospital's neonatal unit have helped launch a new drive to support the mental health of families with neonates receiving care on the unit.
Parents and babies enjoyed a tea party on the unit to put the first messages on the unit's Tree of Hope, a permanent fixture on the neonatal unit where families can share their thoughts and feelings on stickers, providing a morale boost to other parents and siblings visiting their loved ones.
Former patients and their families were invited to join staff from the unit and representatives from the health board's Perinatal Mental Health team to share advice and guidance on mental health support. The party was held as part of a new pledge from the health board's neonatal services to improve the mental wellbeing of families with babies in neonatal care across North Wales.
Catrin O'Hara's twins Lucy and Jack were cared for on the unit between August and November 2018. She says: "I think it's really important that more is done to support parents on the unit, especially dads and other family members, not just mums.
"The messages to others are so important – we were here for three months with our twins, and being able to see that others have the same experiences as you is a big help."
As part of closer working arrangements, the Perinatal Mental Health Team now holds regular appointments to catch up with the families of patients at the neonatal units in Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor. Additional wellbeing support is also provided by the Neomates group, where families are encouraged to share experiences, and staff on the units are putting greater focus on structured support and referrals for the mental health of families with babies receiving care.