Spotlight on well-being: Always good to have a mental health Cush-ion

An actor who starred in Hamlet at the Young Vic and American drama The Good Fight has praised a South London mental health groups for parents.

Cush Jumbo visited Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind (BLG Mind) in November to meet chief executive Ben Taylor, staff and volunteers.

She also met participants from Mindful Mums and Being Dad, the mental health charity’s well-being services for expectant and new parents.

At the time she gave birth to her son Max, Ms Jumbo was living in New York and starring as lawyer Lucca Quinn in the Emmy award-winning CBS drama The Good Fight.

She said she would have loved to have attended a well-being group similar to Mindful Mums in New York.

She said: “It would have been the highlight of my week, every week.”

Mindful Mums is BLG Mind’s mental health support programme for pregnant women and new mothers.

Cush shares a joke with Mindful Mum participants

Mindful Mums and Being Dad pro-ject co-ordinator Karen Taylor told Ms Jumbo how the programme encourages women to freely express their feelings about becoming a mother.

Ms Taylor said: “Mindful Mums isn’t about singing nursery rhymes or competitive parenting. It’s about women supporting each other, sharing the highs and lows of becoming a mum and not having to pretend everything is perfect.

“The look of relief on women’s faces when they join the group is palpable.”

Being Dad facilitator Nev Walters spoke about the important role the service played in encouraging men to talk about issues.

He said: “It’s a debilitating idea that you have to be the man with a plan and know what’s going on.

The Being Dad group is changing this bit by bit. The best thing is that if someone’s a bit hesitant initially, once they’ve joined the group and realise they’re not going to be judged, they don’t stop talking.”

Ben Taylor said: “People can come to Mindful Mums or Being Dad if they’re struggling with their mental health, but also if they’re not struggling.

They’re open to all new parents, because we can all do with looking after our well-being during that period of change.”

Ms Jumbo said: “It’s amazing what you do. You make your own rules, which is much more in line with being a parent.

“No one gets a degree in mum or dad. We’re all just making it up but are expected to know everything.”

The actor also expressed her admiration for the Being Dad service.

She said it was something her own father, who was a stay-at-home dad to Ms Jumbo and her five siblings while her mother worked, would have appreciated.

Ms Jumbo said she is keen to imbue son Max with the positive approach to mental health she has developed through her own experiences.

She said: “If there’s one thing I’d like to give him, it’s a healthy relationship with mental health.

“He may not always feel okay, but I want him to talk about it rather than hiding things. It’s such an important skill.

“If your mental health is solid, you can pretty much survive anything.”

Main Picture: Cush Jumbo visits Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind, Cush Jumbo, front row in yellow and other members of the well-being group. 




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