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Post boxes are appearing across Cardiff to raise awareness of perinatal mental health

Red Letter Days #HeyMum. Credit: Pickled Pepper Books and Amy Mace
If you want to do something worthwhile this Mother’s Day, keep an eye out for the little red post boxes popping up in Cardiff Central Library Hub, Canton Library and Penylan Library and Community Centre from today.
The popular Cardiff public spaces are part of a national campaign launched by experience gift company Red Letter Days and maternal mental health charity PANDAS to support and empower new mums who might be feeling isolated in the early days of motherhood; and it couldn’t be easier to get involved. 
With 1 in 5 new mothers experiencing pre- or postnatal mental health problems – and 56% of parents with children under five admitting to experiencing loneliness* – Red Letter Days are encouraging mums across the country to send words of support and solidarity to expectant and new mothers, passing on the words or messages they know they need at this time in their lives.
The #HeyMum mums-to-mums initiative, running in partnership with PANDAS and supported by the mums social network Mush, hopes to lift spirits by sharing thoughtful messages and words of encouragement with new mums who might need reminding they’re not alone and are doing a great job.
Red Letter Days hopes the campaign will raise funds and awareness for perinatal mental health. Between 9th – 22nd March, 20% of the sales from selected Red Letter Days Mother’s Day gifts will go directly to PANDAS, to help raise funds for the crucial work they do in supporting families experiencing perinatal mental health conditions.
Cards can be posted, with the envelope unsealed, in the bespoke Red Letter Days post-boxes in Cardiff. Others are also located across the UK. The cards will then be delivered to groups of new and expectant mums on Mother’s Day. If you can’t make it to one of the official locations, you can also post a card to a dedicated address.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said:
“There is a strong emphasis on health and wellbeing in all of our hubs and libraries in Cardiff as we believe these facilities have an important role to play in the welfare of our communities.
“We are very pleased to be supporting this campaign to raise awareness of the struggles many new mothers go through after having a baby. Our hubs and libraries are friendly and welcoming places that have plenty to offer new mums and their families and we hope our customers will use the red post boxes they see in Central, Canton and Penylan and take the time to send their words of encouragement to someone who really needs to hear them.”
Alison Vickery, Marketing Director at Red Letter Days, says:
“Becoming a Mother is an exciting and joyful occasion but it’s also incredibly common for new mothers to feel isolated, anxious or lonely. The number of women suffering from perinatal illness is something we need to speak more openly about. We therefore want to use this Mother’s Day – which will be a first for many – to raise awareness, build connections and empower new mums with support and encouragement.
“We’re encouraging mums who have experienced the pressures, highs and lows of motherhood to write a heartwarming message to another mother who is just starting out on their parenting journey. Your act of solidarity could make a huge difference to your fellow mum’s day, week, month and maybe even their year; and will remind them that they’re doing a fantastic job and are far from alone.
“It only takes a minute to write a card and share a story or some words of advice; so we’d be delighted to see mums across the UK taking the time to get involved. Help us make Mother’s Day about more than just our own mums, but all mums, by celebrating the love and kindness we can show one another whilst raising awareness for a worthwhile cause.”
Annie Belasco, Head of Charity at PANDAS Foundation says:  
“The PANDAS Foundation exists to support and advise any parents who are experiencing perinatal mental illness. We work to guide, inform and support sufferers and their families and ensure that nobody feels alone. We offer a free helpline, as well as dedicated support groups across the UK. 
“We’re really excited to be partnered with Red Letter Days on their Mother’s Day campaign this year, as it’s so important to talk about perinatal illness in the mainstream and remind parents that it’s okay not to be okay when you have a new baby. The common narrative is that this should be the happiest time in a woman’s life; but the reality is less glamorous. Perinatal illness is more common than many realise; and struggling with your mental health doesn’t make you a bad mother. Far from it.
“It’s so important to talk to one another, share honest stories (warts and all) and show support to friends, family and even total strangers in order to remove the stigma around mental health and motherhood and show that no parent is perfect. We hope this campaign will raise essential awareness for perinatal illness so we can help more families up and down the country to take care of their mental health.”
Katie Massie-Taylor, co-founder of Mush (an app that helps mums connect with other mums) says: 
“Mush was born out of my own desire for company and connection when I had a newborn. It can be a desperately lonely and exhausting time; and in fact I don’t think there’s any other time in my life when I’ve so badly craved support, yet felt so isolated. Mush connects mums with other mums so they can meet up, chat and share experiences. We create communities and build connections, which is also what Red Letter Days’ campaign is all about.
“The campaign is fantastic as it will help new mums realise that they’re really not alone, even if it often feels like it. There are so many things I know now that I wish someone had told me when I had a newborn; and this letter-writing initiative is the perfect way to share those pearls of wisdom and knowledge with like-minded mums who’ll really appreciate your time, care and insights. It’s not about telling women how to mother their child (only they know how to do that) but reminding them that their best is more than good enough and there’s a whole network of women out there who’ve got their back.”
How to get involved:
  1. Grab a Mother’s Day card, write a thoughtful and encouraging message to an anonymous new mum, and post it in one of Red Letter Days’ letter boxes (not a Royal Mail one!) in an unsealed envelope.
  2. You can also write a message on the spot using one of the cards provided alongside each letter box. Please note there are only a limited number of cards available in each location, so best to buy your own to avoid disappointment!
  3. Should you be unable to make it to one of the post box locations, post a card to ‘Red Letter Days Campaign, c/o Keyboards & Dreams, Ground Floor, 34-35 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8DX’, where a member of the Red Letter Days team will keep it safe and deliver it to somebody who’ll greatly benefit from your kind words.
  4. Share a photo of yourself posting your card on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, tagging @RedLetterDaysUK and using the hashtag #HeyMum. Five people will be selected at random to win a Red Letter Days voucher, which they can redeem on a once-in-a-lifetime experience of their choice!
Card writing tips: We suggest including your name, age, and a bit about yourself and your family in your message, and don’t forget to wish the recipient a Happy Mother’s Day! Perhaps you could tell them something you wish you’d known when you had a new baby. All cards will be vetted, so keep messages positive, friendly and sensitive, and leave envelopes unsealed.
Red Letter Days’ bespoke red post boxes can be found in the following Cardiff locations, all of whom have generously volunteered their spaces as part of the campaign:
  • Cardiff Central Library Hub, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1FL
  • Canton Library, 4 Library St, Cardiff CF5 1QD
  • Penylan Library and Community Centre, Pen-Y-Lan Rd, Cardiff CF23 5HW