Mental Health Foundation
Small Talk

Film & Campaign Description

As part of our Small Talk project, we worked with a group of parents to create a series of videos exploring the experiences of lone parents through pregnancy and the early years and to break down the stigma they face as lone parents in talking about mental health challenges. 

Current research shows that approximately 1 in 5 mothers and at least 1 in 10 fathers experience poor mental health during pregnancy and the early years, known as the perinatal period. We also know that lone parents are more likely to experience anxiety than the general population. Parents tell us that as lone parents they experience stigma, especially if they are young parents, and that they feel there are barriers to opening up about their mental health and seeking support. They also told us that support through groups provided by our project partners was invaluable to them and made a huge difference. We want more lone parents to know that there is support available to them, it's ok to struggle with your mental health and that you're not alone. 

The Small Talk documentary follows some of the 11 parents who came together to co-write and make two films with us. The films tell their stories of pregnancy, birth and the early years with their children and the challenges of being a lone parent as well as the joys. We also spotlight some of the incredible organisations who are working with us to provided support to lone parents in their communities. 

We hope this film can help reduce the stigma lone parents feel when finding their mental health a challenge, which can prevent them from seeking and accessing support. We want any person parenting alone who watches these films to be encouraged to join a local parents’ group and benefit from the support they offer.

The Small Talk project is delivered in partnership with six partner organisations who helped make these films possible and whose support services are highlighted in the  film. The partner organisations are: Amma Birth Companions, Dads Rock, Govan HELP (with the NSPCC Together for Childhood project in Govan), One Parent Families Scotland, Mind Mosaic, and the Young Parents Support Base at Smithycroft Secondary School.

The film was made by David Hayman Jnr and Darren Hercher. 

Mental Health Foundation

Since 1949, the Mental Health Foundation has been the UK’s leading charity for everyone’s mental health.

Our vision is for a world with good mental health for all. With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive.

We will drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to live mentally healthier lives, with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.

We are the home of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Our approach

We take a public mental health approach to prevention, finding solutions for individuals, those at risk and for society, in order to improve everyone’s mental wellbeing.

The practical things we do

  • Community and peer programmes: we test and evaluate the best approaches to improving mental health in communities and then roll them out as widely as possible.
  • Research: we publish studies and reports on what protects mental health and the causes of poor mental health and how to tackle them.
  • Public engagement: we give advice to millions of people on mental health. We are most well known for running Mental Health Awareness Week across the UK each year.
  • Advocacy: we propose solutions and campaign for change to address the underlying causes of poor mental health.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: