Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire

When a Relationship Ends: Lisa, Sally and Emma’s Story

Lisa’s Health Visitor referred Lisa and her family to us.  Lisa had mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, due to experiences in her past. She also struggled with high levels of anxiety.

Emma’s birth had been traumatic and had left Emma (20 months) with ongoing health issues which meant Lisa was often having to take them to hospital appointments.  It was during this time that Lisa’s relationship with her partner (Sally and Emma’s Dad) broke down and he moved out of the family home.

Lisa’s mental health deteriorated and the community mental health team was involved to give some support.  Lisa’s anxiety and depression meant she found it difficult to get out.  Sally (3 years) and Emma’s behaviour became more challenging, as they were coming to terms with changes at home; Lisa struggled with parenting them on her own and felt that she was failing as a mum.

What did we do?

A volunteer visited every week for two hours.  The volunteer did lots of activities with Sally and Emma, and Lisa was able to join in – giving her positive experiences with the children.  The volunteer gave lots of reassurance and positive feedback about her parenting.

Lisa was able to talk with the volunteer about how she was feeling, following the break-up of her relationship. The volunteer gave Lisa strategies to help Sally and Emma come to terms with the changes in their lives.

This included support for Lisa following the regular contact Sally and Emma had with their Dad.  They talked through ways Lisa could communicate with her ex-partner to make contact arrangements smoother and as easy as possible for the children.

The volunteer supported Lisa to go out to community places with Sally and Emma e.g. the park.

Lisa increased in confidence and was able to come along to one of our family support groups.  She made friends with other parents and Sally and Emma had lots of opportunities to play in a group setting with other children.

What difference did we make?

Lisa’s confidence increased and, although she was still dealing with mental health issues, was more positive about how she was coping with being a single parent.

Lisa and her ex-partner mostly managed to maintain civil communication with each other and made good contact arrangements, focussing on Sally and Emma’s needs.

Lisa regularly attended the family support group and made friendships and networks with other parents which continued outside of the family support group sessions.

Lisa’s increased confidence meant she was able to support new parents coming into the family support group and she played a key role in welcoming and making parents feel comfortable in the group.

*Names have been changed

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