Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 12:56 UK

Postnatal text 'buddies' launched

Mobile phone on a computer keyboard
Support will be offered via e-mail, text and phone

A postnatal depression charity hopes to overcome the geographical barriers of the Highlands and Islands by offering help via e-mail, text and phone.

The "buddies" service involves mothers who have recovered from the illness providing support to sufferers.

It has been launched by Highland Ante/Postnatal Illness and Depression Support (Hapis).

The service was the idea of former client, Sarah James, who wanted to give something back to the charity.

She said: "I was so grateful to Hapis for helping me through some very difficult times.

"Being able to help other mums will mean a great deal to me and while communicating by e-mail suits me better I think it's a great idea to include text and phone within the service."

'Seek reassurance'

Hapis holds weekly group support meetings at the Hilton Community Centre in Inverness.

Since the charity's launch in 2001, it has tried, with limited success, to set up other meetings elsewhere in the region.

Chairwoman Lorna Murdoch said: "The vastness of the Highlands and Islands region and the fact that even women local to Inverness are unable to come to meetings because of barriers such as lack of confidence or even transportation issues, we thought a system where mums can contact other mums via e-mail, text or phone, was a terrific way forward.

"Communications technology removes a lot of the barriers that exist for us as a small, independent charity trying to reach out to families across a large area."

Hapis buddy Karen Archer added: "A buddy is someone that a mother who is suffering from post natal depression can talk, text, or e-mail to discuss her feelings and seek reassurance."

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