We know that maternity care is an incredible but demanding job. Our personal and working life can affect our mental and physical health and it can be difficult to address our wellbeing when we’re not sure where to turn for help. This section of the Caring for You hub is dedicated to sharing useful resources that are available to you.

Mental wellbeing

Poor mental wellbeing can make it really difficult to cope with daily life and it is not always easy to pinpoint why we feel the way we do. There are lots of things we can do to take care of our mental wellbeing, but where do we start? Here is a list of some of the useful organisations out there to help you take that first step:

Anxiety UK – providing support with anxiety conditions
Bipolar UK – helping people living with bipolar disorder
Black Minds Matter UK – ensuring black people in the UK have access to mental health support
Cruse Bereavement Care – offering bereavement care
Imkaan – addressing wellbeing of black and minority ethnic women and girls
Maya Centre – counselling for women experiencing mental health issues and traumatic experiences
Mental Health Foundation – information and support for anyone with mental wellbeing problems or learning difficulties
Mind – promotes views and needs of people with mental wellbeing problems
Muslim Women’s Network UK – giving Muslim women support and a voice in the UK
No Panic – offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD
National Domestic Abuse Helpline – helping those affected by domestic abuse
OCD Action – supports people with obsessive compulsive disorder
PAPYRUS – young suicide prevention society
Refuge – support for women who experience domestic violence and abuse
Rehab 4 Addiction – a UK-based addiction and mental health helpline.
Rethink Mental Illness – support and advice for people living with mental illness
Samaritans – support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair
Savera UK – supporting black and minority ethnic communities in the UK
The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network – offering therapists of black, African, South Asian and Caribbean descent
Women’s Aid – supporting women experiencing domestic abuse and violence
Young Women’s Trust – advice and support for women and girls 16 to 30

Stress-related illnesses can be linked to work and can have a great impact on our mental and physical wellbeing which can be severe. This can be due to long hours, excessive workload, balancing a demanding job with a difficult personal life – and/or all the above plus the rest of the iceberg.

If you are having trouble with stress, you can contact your workplace reps, and the RCM regional and national organisers. Together we can work with employers to negotiate solutions. When workers act together, employers are more likely to pay attention and introduce new policies – so let us know if you feel stressed at work.

Take a look at the Work-related stress guidance booklet for more information. Stress can also be related to how are shifts are organised or sometimes it's the pressure of lone working that can really get to us. See latest guidance on flexible working and lone working.

The NHS website also has some advice for reducing stress, including 10 stress busters and breathing exercises.

Physical wellbeing

We’ve got to look after our bodies. Whether you’re working with menopause, are pregnant at work, have addiction issues or an eating disorder, support is available to help you stay healthy and well. Here is a list of useful organisations to help:

AfterTrauma – providing support for people with complex physical needs
Alcoholics Anonymous – a self-help group with a 12 step programme
Alzheimer’s Society – information on dementia and helpline
Beat – offering support for people with eating disorders
Drinkline – a confidential helpline for people worried about their own or someone else’s drinking
Gamblers Anonymous – a self-help programme for people with a gambling addiction
Leonard Cheshire – helping people live, learn and work with disabilities
Narcotics Anonymous – a self-help programme for drug use
SMART Recovery UK – support to decide whether there is a problem with alcohol or drugs

Bullying and harassment at work

Bullying and harassment at work is unacceptable, and yet those of us who experience it are often made to feel it’s our fault. Don’t be ashamed to tell people what’s going on. Your local branch reps need to know so they can help you – and others who may be experiencing it too. There are many ways to help stop bullying behaviour at work and a lot of paths you can take.

We know it can be difficult to raise issues about people you work with, but your local RCM reps, with the support of their national or regional officer, are there to help you.

Supportive and compassionate working environments matter. Staff feel valued and listed to, that they can raise concerns, errors are reduced, stress is reduced and safety improves. Here is some useful information from Civility Saves Lives

We have also produced a toolkit on bullying in the workplace in collaboration with the The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. 

Race Matters

Conscious, unconscious, implicit bias… tacking racism is a challenge with many layers and complexities. Inclusion is about experience in the workplace and the wider society where you feel valued and included. We have produced a range of publications that aim to tackle prejudice and promote equality and diversity.

Find out more on our Race Matters initiative here.

Raising concerns about bullying and harassment

Local policies and guidance are always the first place to look for support. Your local reps can help you identify which policy to use to raise concerns. Additionally, the NHS have helpful resources on raising concerns and speaking up.

NHS support 

The RCM is a member of The NHS Staff Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) which works to, raise standards of workplace health, safety, and wellbeing, promote a safer working environment and promote best practice. The group has produced guidance on bullying, health, safety and wellbeing of shift workers, sickness absence, the menopause and a range of other topics. 

Maternity staff often look after women and families, their physical but emotional needs too. Our NHS People have produced a useful guide for helping to manage your own health and wellbeing, while looking after others. 

Public Health England are also running a campaign 'Better Health - Every Mind Matters' with NHS UK and are using tools and tips on social The key message will be to encourage people to create a free NHS-approved 'Mind Plan'. 

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