We Are Pangs was initially founded by Michelle Bradley in January 2014. Struggling with severe postnatal anxiety and depression, Michelle set up PANGS NI (as We Are Pangs used to be called) as an online peer support group in a bid to find others who were going through the same experience.
Since its humble beginnings, the peer support group has grown to over 600 members from all across Northern Ireland and continues to grow every day.
In June 2019, we were invited to register with the Charities Commission and it was then that We Are Pangs really began to build momentum. Seeing the severe lack of services that families need, a group of women formed the Board of Trustees for the charity and began in earnest to identify ways in which we could make a real impact on the ground.
Following a survey of parents from across the province we identified the following key areas that we could really make a difference to people’s lives:
- Peer Support – finding your ‘tribe’ of like-minded people plays a huge role in recovering from mental health issues, and is particularly helpful for parents ont he mild to moderate end of the mental health spectrum. We aim to grow a peer support network across the country so that every parent has the opportunity to seek this vital support and connection
- Training – we aim to train professional practitioners to deliver services on our behalf and also educate the masses about what perinatal mental illness is and what can be done about it. We also aim to train volunteer peer support leaders to faciliate our peer support groups
- Community – isolation and loneliness are key factors in mental illness, particularly if you are a parent with a young child. Parent and baby groups can seem daunting and many parents feel the need to ‘put a brave face on’ and not let others know how they feel. We want to build a thriving community where we can host similar activities but that cater to those who may be having a tough time with their mental health
- Campaigning – Northern Ireland is the only UK nation not investing in perinatal mental healthcare. We want to change this by breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness and encouraging our government to fund specialist services and a mother and baby inpatient unit.
- Resources – there is currently no single place that parents and health professionals can access information or resources to help with recovery. We want to be the one-stop source of information so that these resources are easily accessible and known to all.
If you would like to get involved with We Are Pangs as a volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!