AN OMAGH charity has warned over drastic cuts to its services for people dealing with post-natal depression.
Blaming a lack of funding, the group ‘Support 2gether’ is the only one in the North specialising in helping people living with ante-natal and postnatal depression. The charity worked with an estimated 500 families across Omagh and surrounding areas last year, claiming its work has ‘saved lives.’
However its co-founder, Una Leonard now fears that the extent of their programmes will be under threat if vital monies aren’t found.
“Mothers have told us directly that our work has quite literally saved their lives. My biggest fear is that our services will have to be drastically reduced if more financial support doesn’t become available,” she warned.
“Our team is made up of volunteers. There’s a committee of 15 and it’s the parents themselves who are doing the fundraising.
“The big risk at the moment is that services are in such demand that we simply don’t have the funding to meet that. The larger funding streams are going elsewhere at our expense and that needs to change urgently.”
“We are the only specialised charity covering post-natal depression in the island of Ireland. But our volunteers are running on empty, they’re exhausted and expecting too much from themselves and urgently need more financial support.”
The charity requires at least £300,000 to fulfil its immediate plans. These include a new hub to provide a focus for mothers and their families, extra staff and the delivery of additional support programmes.
However, it is understood that funders are preferring to support programmes in Belfast or Derry rather than the rural west.
Mrs Leonard acknowledged the support provided by the Big Lottery Fund and the Halifax Foundation and is urging the people of the Omagh area to get behind a survey being set up aimed at highlighting the growing need for their work locally.
“We’re in Omagh, this is where we’re staying and we’re going to start celebrating the fact of how vital our local service is,” she added.
“Our charity is non-profit making and in 2019 we supported more than 500 families, never mind the ripple effect which that then creates.”
Her warning comes as one Killyclogher woman this week spoke publicly for the first time about the terrible impact that post-natal depression had on her.
Teresa Hawkes has set up an online blog, entitled Moth4b, to tell her story and raise awareness of the charity.