Referral guidelines

Please read these guidelines before making a referral to Bluebell. Thank you so much.  

How can I refer to Bluebell?   

Parents can refer themselves to Bluebell. We also welcome referrals from GPs, midwives, health visitors, family support workers and other relevant health professionals and organisations.  

Who does Bluebell support? 

We support parents with mild to moderate perinatal mental health difficulties during pregnancy and / or up to two years after their child is born.  

Who doesn’t Bluebell support?  

We are a charity with limited resources, so unfortunately we can’t support parents whose symptoms are due to other factors such as a relationship breakdown, physical or emotional abuse, poor housing or substance misuse and dependence. We are also unable to support people with long-term or severe mental health challenges, or who are involved with social services for child protection issues.   

Do I need a referral to access all Bluebell support? 

You’ll need a referral for our Buddy Service, Comfort Zone, Counselling and Dads in Mind service, but you don’t need a referral to go to Bluebell Place.  

What do I need to do to make a referral? 

You’ll need to fully complete our secure online form. If you’re unable to access the form online, contact us and we will send you a paper version to complete and return to us by post.  

Important information about our Buddy service 

Our one-to-one Buddy support service is in great demand. We’d love to provide a Buddy for every parent that needs one but, as a charity dependent on funding, we can only cover certain areas. If you can’t find your area below, please drop us an email and we can tell you about other sources of support, including Bluebell Place, our wellbeing hub in central Bristol.

Bluebell’s Safe Case Management Policy for the Buddy Service

To manage the safety of the parents we support and of our Buddies, we have a best practise safe case management policy in place. These guidelines will also help us to provide a high-quality service to parents, referrers and funders.  

Looking after Buddies and parents   

To help our Buddies provide a safe and good quality service and look after their own wellbeing, we’ve established some new guidelines for how many parents each Buddy can support at any one time.   

  • Buddies who work two days per week – a maximum case load of 30 parents 

  • Buddies who work three or four days per week – 40-45 parents  

  • Buddies who work full time – 50 parents 

Our aim is to ensure each Buddy can provide the best possible support to parents currently in their caseloads and are able to effectively manage the flow of new referrals.    

When a Buddy has reached their maximum case load, referrers will be informed and updated on waiting times. 

Managing referrals to the Buddy service    

The waiting time for a Buddy to contact a parent is typically 3-4 weeks. However, this varies by location and some areas can be busier than others. If an individual Buddy is at capacity then we may need to extend the wait time in their area in order for them to work with the parents on their existing case load, before they begin supporting new parents.

Our groups at Bluebell Place or online will be offered as alternatives to the Buddy service, and we will signpost you to other local community services. Referrers will always be informed of the current waiting time via email or phone after the referral is received.

If you have any questions about any of the information in these referral guidelines, please get in touch. You can call us on 0117 922 0746 or email

Thanks so much for reading.

Select a language to translate