Parents in Braintree are being encouraged to speak out about their experiences of postnatal depression to help improve mental health services.

One in ten new mums suffer post natal depression but not everyone gets diagnosed early enough or knows where to find support, according to health campaigners.

Healthwatch Essex and the Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ECDP) are running a focus group in Braintree on Wednesday, August 20, to encourage people who have used natal mental health services to share their story.

Dr Tom Nutt, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “Postnatal depression can affect the whole family. A lot of people don’t seek help, so it probably affects more families in Essex than we know.

“It takes great courage to speak out, but by sharing their voice with us, people can be reassured that they are making a difference to future services.”

The focus group is part of a wider project that Healthwatch Essex and ECDP are running over the summer to make the voice of Essex mental health services users heard by the people who commission services.

Other focus groups will concentrate on mental health support provided by GPs and walk-in centres, as well as people who regularly receive care in the community and those who have experienced care as a mental health in-patient in a hospital.

The focus group will be held in Braintree at Braintree Town Hall, Market Square, between 6pm-8pm.