Founder & CEO
Ruth is the founder and CEO of Bluebell Care and has lived experience of perinatal mental illness. Knowing how hard it can be to find the right support quickly, easily and close to home, Ruth was motivated to set up Bluebell in 2009, along with support from her husband, other parents with lived experience and professionals working in the sector, to try and fill some of the gaps in local community provision. Prior to founding Bluebell and relocating to Bristol, Ruth lived and worked in London for many years in communications and fundraising roles for national organisations, including the Science Museum, Barnardo’s and Rethink Severe Mental Illness. Ruth is married to Mike, has two grown up daughters, a fluffy Bichon called Teddy and is passionate about making sure no parent feels alone and unable to access the support they need when experiencing perinatal mental illness.
Anna has been involved with Bluebell from the outset in her role as our Project Manager. She now oversees many of the logistics of Bluebell’s Mums’ Comfort Zone groups in the Bristol area and as we grow, tries to keep us organised! She has 2 ‘grown up’ children and has previously worked in further education as an In Class Support Worker and whilst in London at BSkyB and the BBC. Anna volunteered for a long time at Homestart and makes unusual jewellery.
Therapeutic Services Lead & Occupational Therapist
Rachel is an occupational therapist and joined Bluebell in 2011. She helped design the Mums’ Comfort Zone programme and currently leads the Patchway and Yate groups. She also offers a 1 to 1 buddy service in South Gloucestershire and delivers many of the staff training programmes. Rachel has two grown-up boys and is an amateur musician.
Peer support lead and Buddy
Paula oversees all of the training and support for Bluebell’s buddy team. She is also Bluebell Buddy for the central area of Bristol providing 1:1 support for women in the community and at Bluebell Place. Paula worked as a Solicitor in Bristol for many years before joining Bluebell in 2013. She has trained to teach Pilates and has studied counselling. Paula experienced a severe episode of post-natal mental illness which led her to change career to help and support other women which she feels passionately about. Paula is married with a young son and also has a cat called Honey and tropical fish!
Jess is based at Bluebell Place and her role involves organizing the services that the Bluebell team deliver! Before joining Bluebell, Jess was a midwife for 10 years and supported many mums in the perinatal period. She is a busy mum with 3 daughters and a dog called Tilly. Jess is also a keen advocate of exercise to improve mental and physical health and has helped many women over the years through her running club.
Louis is our Dads’ Worker. He will run Bluebell’s new Facebook page Dads in Mind and offer 1:1 support to dads experiencing depression/anxiety related to their new role as a parent. As a dad of 1 himself, with lived experience of managing mental ill health, Louis is really keen to give fathers the opportunity to have their voices heard too!
Nikki helps deliver our group programme in South Bristol currently at Bishopsworth Children’s Centre. She will be offering support to group attendees for the duration of the 11 week Mums’ Comfort Zone course.
Aimee currently works at Bluebell Place offering 1:1 support and help during drop-ins. Aimee has a little girl and is passionate about listening and giving people a space to be heard.
Early Years & Creche Team Lead
Emma is our Crèche Leader and has worked with children and families for over 20 years. She has spent time as an early years teacher, child-minder and more recently as a family support worker in a children’s centre. Emma can offer parents advice on feeding, sleep and play and has two daughters of her own.
Kerry supports the delivery of Bluebell’s crèches in South Bristol and at Bluebell Place. She has two children of her own and is very active in her local community.
Helen works in the creche at Bluebell, and has a you son. She is trained in Early Childhood Care and Education and has worked with children for many years, with quite a few of them spent in Japan! She very much enjoys looking after your children whilst you take some well deserved ‘me time’.’
Mel is the Project Co-ordinator for Little Bluebell and has worked for many years co-ordinating and facilitating projects, working with families and children experiencing difficulties. Mel is usually behind the scenes but on occasion may provide extra support. Mel is a mum of two children, a textile artist, a keen gardener and loves to travel.
OT and Group Leader
Selina is the Group Leader for Little Bluebell and facilitates all the Mums’ Comfort Zone programmes. She is an Occupational Therapist and also works for the Torbay Perinatal Mental Health Team. Selina is passionate about promoting mental and emotional wellbeing, connecting with women and providing support. Selina is a mum to three children and loves camping, walking and the great outdoors.
Sam is a Little Bluebell Buddy and covers the Torbay area. Sam has lived experience of perinatal mental health issues and is passionate about supporting mums and their families experiencing these issues. Sam works on a 1-2-1 basis in the community and also co-facilitates the Mums’Comfort Zone course in Torbay. Sam has one young son who keeps her very busy in her spare time.
Julie is one of the Little Bluebell Buddies and has lived experience of perinatal mental health issues. Julie covers the South Hams area in Devon which is quite rural. Julie works on a 1-2-1 basis and co-facilitates the Mums’ Comfort Zone courses in The South Hams. Julie is a mum to three young children and is a published author.
Jo Menon, brings personal experience of antenatal and postnatal depression to the team of Trustees, as well as wide ranging business expertise. Jo set up her global HR consulting business in 2008 & has since built a coaching and equine facilitated learning practice bringing together her work and passion. When she’s not travelling she’s at home organising chaos with her family & menagerie of animals.
Angela Appiah Shippey, Treasurer. Angela qualified as a Chartered Accountant (with Arthur Andersen) 17 years ago and since then has held various Finance roles in public relations, advertising, law, banking and healthcare giving her a wide range of commercial and business skills. Angela is passionate about whatever she takes on in life and felt now was a good time to use her skillset and enthusiasm to give something back to society. Angela is a mum of 2 girls and loves travelling.
Mike Reynolds has over ten years’ experience working as a lead resourcer for a global education company, supporting school improvement in schools, academies and trusts in the UK. Having experienced his wife suffering with PND and knowing the impact it has on families, Mike is passionate about providing support to an important area of mental health that needs continual development, w
Dr Christine Jackson, senior Doctor at New Horizon Mother & Baby Unit, Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
Sasha Barber, Chair of Trustees. We are delighted to welcome Sasha as our new Chair. Her experience of working as a Perinatal Mental Health Champion for the Institute of Health Visiting, and her current role as Mental Health & Bereavement Lead for Women & Children’s Health at the North Bristol NHS Trust, will be invaluable. With a back ground as a mental health nurse and a health visitor team manager, Sasha brings a wealth of expertise to the team
Dr Karl Scheeres is a NHS Psychiatrist who has been working in Bristol since 2011; he qualified from Warwick Medical School in 2006, and worked in New Zealand before returning to the UK. He has been appointed to work as a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist with the Specialist Community Perinatal Team based in Bristol from September 2017. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and sits on the committee that sets postgraduate exams for psychiatrists. He was the first male member of staff in his NHS trust to take long term paternity leave, looking after his daughter full time for six months in 2015
I moved to Bristol from Devon to study mental health nursing and loved the city so much that I stayed! I have worked in a variety of mental health settings, including the Crisis and Home Treatment Team as a senior practitioner and later, manager of the service. I currently work as part of the Psychiatric Liaison Team at the BRI, and specialise in maternal mental Health at St Michaels hospital. I have always held a passion for women’s mental health, and since becoming a mother to two boys, I have become more interested in mental health in pregnancy and postnatally. I feel very lucky to work with women in their pregnancies and am really delighted to be involved with Bluebell.
Dr Jennie Shouls – Jennie has recently joined the Bluebell Care board and brings a much needed GP perspective to our charity. Jennie has worked as a GP in Bristol for many years and has a particular interest in perinatal mental health and ensuring families receive the care they need in this area. We know her primary care expertise will be invaluable to Bluebell.
Emma has come from a nursing background. She loves working alongside Mums and their little ones and first started volunteering at Bluebell Place two years ago. Emma has three children and has lived experience of post-natal depression. She discovered Bluebell Place some years after her own experience, when she had not been able to find any support and discovered the amazing work the team carry out, which led to her want to become a volunteer. She is now a group facilitator for one of the mums Comfort Zone groups. Emma enjoys being outdoors walking her dog, gardening , running and riding her bike .
Jodi had been a Buddy and a Mums Comfort Zone programme co facilitator before becoming Operations Manager at Bluebell. A keen public speaker she tries to help normalise the feelings postnatal depression can bring with it for other Mums and Dads. Running and keeping fit go hand in hand with two busy boys at home.
Amelia trained as a primary school teacher and worked in the early years sector, before having her two young children. She became inspired to help families after experiencing a difficult time after her first baby was born. Amelia loves to travel and explore different cultures
Bluebell Place Group facilitator
Carol joined the Bluebell team in 2016 when Bluebell Place opened and now facilitates drop in sessions at Bluebell Place. With 1 husband, 2 grown up children and 4 grand-children, family and fun are very important to Carol. Carol has lived experience of depression and anxiety and is a qualified Occupational Therapist with many years of experience working in Adult Mental Health settings in the NHS and private practise. Carol has a passion for sewing, specifically quilting but any craft makes her happy. Carol says she ‘loves working with Bluebell because I have witnessed the difference they make for families, I believe that giving mums the support they deserve enriches the whole family unit.
Cara is the Group Leader for Clevedon and Weston-Super-Mare in North Somerset. Cara previously worked as a CBT practitioner and has recently trained as an integrative, humanistic counsellor. After accessing Bluebell’s support herself, when her second child was born, she is now welcoming the opportunity to use her lived experience and previous training to help others.
Abi is a Little Bluebell Buddy and has lived experience of perinatal mental health issues. Abi works with mums in the Torbay area on a 1-2-1 basis and co-facilitates the Mums’ Comfort Zone course in Torbay. Abi is also a mum of two, teaches mindfulness and creativity to families, and is an author and parenting blogger.
Holly is a Bluebell Buddy in the Somer Valley. She is a mum of two and experienced post-natal illness after the birth of her first child. Her own lived experience led to a real interest in perinatal mental health and she has since been involved with many projects to help raise the profile of Perinatal Mental Illness and develop services. Holly is a huge fan of using mindfulness to help with wellbeing and loves going on adventures with her family.
Jen is a Bluebell Buddy in Keynsham and the Chew Valley. She is a mum of three and has lived experience of both ante and post-natal depression, as well as anxiety and OCD. A few years ago she decided to leave her career as a primary school teacher to become a writer. Jen started volunteering at Bluebell Place before becoming a buddy. When she is not writing or working for Bluebell she can usually be found in the kitchen, either baking cakes and bread, or hiding with a packet of biscuits.
Jo is the Bluebell Buddy for Bath offering one to one support in the community. Jo’s professional background is in Early Years Education and she has worked with children and their families for over fifteen years. Jo has lived experienced of antenatal depression and at the time found little specialised support available locally. Jo is dedicated to bringing the Bluebell model to the Bath area and to supporting mothers and their babies. Jo has four children and alongside caring for her family, enjoys walking her much loved dog, Milo.
Dads’ Worker, Torbay and South Hams area of Devon
A father of two, who has also experienced the challenges of Perinatal Mental Health which led to a move away from the city back down to his home-town of Torquay. John is dedicated to supporting others through their Mental Health challenges and to working towards making mental health services and support for dads more accessible, personal and part of the normal conversation around pregnancy and birth.
Dads’ Worker, B&NES
Fred is a mental health nurse by profession. He joins the team to give supervision and support to the Dads in Mind service, and to co facilitate the B&NES group meets with Andy Chambers. Having experienced a lack of support for fathers during his wife’s post natal depression, he is motivated towards providing a whole family approach in perinatal care. Fred has worked for fourteen years in inpatient and community mental health settings and as a father of two rambunctious sons, brings both professional and lived experience to the Dads in Mind service.
Kirsty qualified as a doctor in 2009 and has been working in mental health services in Bristol for 7 years. She is a practicing psychiatrist with a special interest in perinatal mental health. She has worked on the Mother and Baby Inpatient Unit and also runs a mindfulness group for mums in the community. Kirsty is also passionate about general health and wellbeing, including the impact of nutrition on mental health. Alongside work Kirsty enjoys spending time with her young daughter.
Mel leads the Mums’ Comfort Zone group at St Paul’s Children’s Centre in Central Bristol. She also coordinates the Thursday drop in session at Bluebell Place. Mel is also an antenatal NCT practitioner in North Bristol, as well as a Baby Massage instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage. She is currently training as a psychotherapeutic counsellor at UWE. She is a busy Mum with three children and loves spending her free time exercising and cooking.
Alison leads the Mums’ Comfort Zone group at Bishopsworth Children’s Centre in South Bristol and at Henbury Children’s Centre in North Bristol. She has been supporting parents since her first child was born in 2001, she is also a childbirth educator and a postnatal doula. Aside from her passion for supporting women in the perinatal period, Alison also loves being in nature, horse riding, hiking, cycling and cooking, all of which have helped her to overcome her own lived experience of anxiety and depression.
Group Leader and Bluebell Buddy
Debbie is the Group Leader for the Mums’ Comfort Zone group at Oldbury Court Children’s Centre in Fishponds, Bristol. She is also a buddy in South Gloucestershire. Debbie has three grown up children but has never forgotten her own experience of post-natal depression and is keen to support other families. Debbie’s previous careers have included working as a nurse, and in early years education but her most recent experience has been supporting families in Children’s Centres. Outside of work Debbie loves photography, baking, music and always has a book close at hand.
Aimee is a Bluebell Buddy in North Somerset. She also co-facilitates the Clevedon Mother’s Comfort Zone group. She has lived experience of post-natal depression and anxiety. After having her 2 daughters, she left her career in publishing and retrained as a reflexologist. Aimee is currently studying to do integrative Counselling. She is passionate about supporting mums and families, and through volunteering has plenty experience of caring for mums in the perinatal period. When not working, studying or running around after her family, Aimee enjoys Pilates and getting outside with her cockapoo, Teddy.
Victoria is a Bluebell Buddy in East and South Bristol. She also co-facilitates the Mothers’s Comfort Zone programmes in these areas. She a mum of two children and has lived experience of post-natal depression. Victoria is also a Primary school teacher and has run her own toddler group in Oldland Common. In her spare time, she loves to tap dance and spend weekends with her family visiting National Trust properties.
Lucinda started off volunteering at Bluebell Place. She loves working with mums and seeing the positive impact Bluebell can have on families. She is now a Bluebell Buddy in central Bristol, providing 1:1 support for mums in the community. As part of this role she co-facilitates the Mothers’ Comfort Zone Programme at St Paul’s Children’s centre. Lucinda also runs drop-in sessions at Bluebell Place on a Tuesday She is married with two young children and is passionate about supporting mums with their mental health.
Sarah is the Bluebell Buddy for Henbury and surrounding areas, she also co -facilitates the Henbury Mothers Comfort Zone programme. She is Mum of two little boys and has lived experience of perinatal mental health issues. Sarah is passionate about raising awareness and supporting Mums with their mental health. She loves travelling with her family, cooking and running.
Dads’ Worker Bristol & S Glos
Adrian runs the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Dads in Mind Service with Simon. He offers both 1:1 and group support to Dads in these communities experiencing depression/anxiety relating to their role as a new parent. Having supported his wife through perinatal depression and experiencing his own mental health journey Adrian has joined the Dads in Mind team to help others who are experiencing similar difficulties.
Dads’ Worker Bristol & S Glos
Simon works in Bristol and South Gloucestershire providing 1:1 support to dads experiencing challenges to their mental health, or that of their partners. He also run’s the Dads in Mind monthly group meeting. Simon has lived experience of anxiety and depression, as well as experience of supporting his wife, whilst going through her own perinatal mental health issues. Simon is keen to provide friendly, genuine support and help ensure that dads’ mental health is not overlooked
Stefan first worked with Bluebell by hosting a Mums group at his cafe in Keynsham. Having moved on from running the cafe, he was inspired by the work Bluebell do and keen to help Dads struggling with mental health issues in North Somerset. Stefan has a young daughter himself and initially struggled with the challenges of adjusting to new family life whilst supporting his wife and juggling work commitments.
Lyndsay is a buddy working in the Weston-Super-Mare area. She is a mum of two lively girls. She has had first-hand experience of Postnatal depression. In addition to her role at Bluebell, she volunteers in a Bristol NICU unit supporting families with sick and premature babies. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family and scruffy mutt Neo, building dens, running around the beach or dancing round the house.
Dads’ Worker BANES and Bristol
Simon provides 1:1 peer and group support in the BANES and Bristol areas. He was drawn to Dad’s In Mind after experiencing the premature birth of his son, extended stays in NICU and then time at Children’s Hospitals. At the early stages of studying at UWE as a MentalHealth Counsellor, Simon is now looking forward to supporting new Dad’s and helping them understand themselves better during what can be an unexpected journey.
Hearts & Minds South West Regional Co-ordinator
Jo is the South West Coordinator for the Hearts and Minds Partnership, a national partnership made up of three perinatal mental health charities across the following areas; Acacia Family Support (West Midlands), Bluebell Care (South West) and Smile Group (North West). She is Mum of a little girl and has lived experience of perinatal mental health issues. Jo is passionate about raising awareness and supporting families with their mental health. As well as working for the Partnership Jo is a writer, mental health advocate, illustrator and also a trainee psychotherapist. In her spare time she can often be found hanging out with her sausage dog Chip.
Suzi Sandford is an Occupational Therapist passionate about supporting and connecting with women experiencing depression and anxiety. Suzi has lived experience of postnatal depression and found the support from Bluebell central to her recovery. Suzi began working as a Group Leader for Bluebell in 2020 and enjoys giving back to an organisation she values. Suzi loves spending time at the beach and going for exhilarating dips in the sea. Suzi has recently relocated to Wales and currently hosts a Virtual Coffee Meeting for Mums and Mums to be in South Glos and Bristol areas.
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Hearts & Minds – click on image for their full details
Devon Team – click on image for their full details
Dads in mind – click on image for their full details