Lived experience – stories and videos from service users

We would like to introduce our peer specialists who have a very important and invaluable role within the perinatal team.

Alissa.pngAlissa is 40. She has a daughter who is six. Almost immediately after giving birth she became unwell with acute anxiety and was looked after by the perinatal team for around nine months before being discharged to the community mental health team.  

Having left her job in investment banking she has been working as a patient representative for the perinatal quality network and as a senior peer specialist at the Dorset Mental Health Forum. 

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with friends and family, up-cycling furniture and cooking. She wishes she liked keeping fit as much as she likes eating!


Bex is closer to 40 than she is 35. She has a son in primary school. Through her teens and twenties, she lived with an eating disorder. 

A week after the birth of her son she received a mood disorder diagnosis. She was at Florence House in 2015 and 2016.  

Since then, she has been learning what helps her to feel she is living well with bipolar II and managing her high anxiety.

Bex has volunteered at Florence House since 2016 and became a peer specialist in 2018. She is passionate about living well rather than living with mental health challenges. She also believes that being open about her struggles, is one of the best ways to challenge stigma.

Letters of Light

A Letter of Light is a letter of support written by a mum with lived experience to a mum currently suffering with her mental health. It is a compassionate letter that can be read when a mum feels ready and in need of a little light. Below is a letter of light written by a mum in Dorset.

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How do I know if I have postnatal depression?

This video from NHS Choices offers a really helpful insight into what postnatal depression is, and the types of sympoms you might experience.

People that use services