The Mas project (Maternal Advocacy and Support) provides maternal mental health support to women across 8 women’s centres. Our centre partners are Falls Women’s Centre, Windsor Women’s Centre, Ballybeen Women’s Centre, Atlas Women’s Centre, Women’s Centre Derry and Strathfoyle, Greenway Women’s Centre, and Footprints Women’s Centre.
Women attending the Mas project have benefited from a range of initiatives and workshops including mindfulness, art for wellbeing, cupcake making, doula support, life coaching sessions to support their mental health and promote emotional wellbeing.
In addition, we have talked to women about their experiences in the Mas groups and Mas advocates in each group to map out a vision for change and service improvement. We have created a Lived Experience Video highlighting some of the key concerns and needs for change that came directly from women attending the project. This was further highlighted in our blog featured by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
The project is supported by Aware NI who provide Mental Health First Aid and peer support training and support to the project.
At WRDA we have developed our own Mas Project OCN Level 3 including modules in Perinatal Mental Health, Peer Support, Communicating and Advocating, Collective Campaigning. We have trained Mas project staff and will be offering the course to project participants and Mas advocates.
WRDA and the Mas project are pleased that funding is confirmed for specialist perinatal mental health services. It is essential that the set up of these services are no longer delayed so that women who meet this criteria in all parts of Northern Ireland can access this service. We also affirm our commitment to a permanent mother and baby unit in Northern Ireland as we are now the only part of the UK without this essential service for women in need of the highest level of care. Long- term funding for projects like Mas is essential so that all women can access quality perinatal mental health care. Community support services are a life changing early intervention service that need long term support
We are members of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and support the Everyone’s Business campaign
The Mas project support and practice the 5 principles of perinatal mental health peer support