A FAMILY fun day with an important message took place on Saturday.

Mum-on-a-mission Lesley Hughes, 37, of Park North, organised the event not only to provide a fun day out for local families but also to raise awareness of post natal depression.

While there were fun activities such as face painting and a bouncy castle for children to enjoy, there was also an oppotunity for parents to find out about the much misunderstood condition.

Lesley, an administrator, has set up the Swindon Post Natal Depression Support Group with the aim of providing a network for families affected.

“Firstly, this is a fun day for the children,” said mum-of-one Lesley. “However, it is also a good chance to raise awareness of something which is very misunderstood.

“Too often people think it is normal for a new mum to be a bit teary when she has just given birth and don’t understand it could be something much more serious.”

There were several organisations present at the fun day held at Liden Community Centre, including the Samaritans, who were giving out advice and providing someone to speak to.

Free talks were given by local charity LIFT, who gave some statistics about PND, and Fathers Reaching Out, to give advice to fathers and other family members.

Although the aim of the day was not to make money, all money raised was put towards counselling services in Swindon.

Lesley said: “The services that are available in Swindon are excellent but there are just not enough. I want there to be frequent and consistent service across the town.

“At the minute, I am the sole member of the group but my dream is to one day have a weekly service in all parts of Swindon.”

Lesley is able to draw on painful personal experience of PND. She suffered from the condition following the birth of her son Jake, three-and-a-half years ago. Despite some very dark days, Lesley says she is now on the mend thanks to support from family and friends as well as counselling.

She said: “Even after this time I still don’t have a full bond with my son but I know it will come. I have more good days than bad.

“Most expecting mums go through all the preparation of having a new baby and think the bond will be formed straight away but this is not always the case.

“I was very lucky to have a very supportive husband and people around me who could help.

“I want this group to offer that support and empathy to other families.”

For more information on the support group, visit www.facebook.com/Swindon-Post-Natal-Depression-Support-Group