Black Baby Loss Awareness Week: Spotlight on our Helix Service | Our blog

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Black Baby Loss Awareness Week: Spotlight on our Helix Service

This week is Black Baby Loss Awareness Week (BBLAW). Recent statistics show that Black and Black Mixed-Heritage women and birthing people are 43% more likely to experience miscarriage. They're also almost 50% more likely to experience stillbirth, and Black babies have the highest infant mortality rates in the country. 

Every day this week, Alicia, a Tommy’s Midwife and founder of BBLAW, and the team from Tommy’s, will be discussing various aspects of pregnancy and baby loss in Black communities which you can follow on Instagram @blackbabylossawareness. Each day will be dedicated to a theme. See the Tommy’s website for more information.

Our Helix Service


Our Helix Service is a small, specialist psychological therapy team, set up in March 2023, for women and birthing people who have experienced moderate to severe mental health difficulties due to pregnancy loss/death of a baby.

The team is made up of psychologists, therapists, midwives and experts by experience who work alongside their clients to improve their mental health and wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families.

The service is open to anyone living in South East London and currently experiencing emotional distress or mental health difficulties related to a perinatal loss, regardless of how long ago the loss happened. This may include pregnancy after loss.

37% of accepted referrals are currently for patients of global majority ethnicity.

We talked to the Assistant Psychologist Carmen Li to learn more about the support they offer.

What kind of support do you offer?

Support may include:

  • Evidence-based psychological therapy, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Peer support either within the service or in the community
  • Liaising with other professionals who are providing care to the person
  • Including partners and family members in care when this is helpful
  • Suggesting services that partners or family members can access for individual therapy or other support


What kind of symptoms do people usually show if they are experiencing mental health difficulties following pregnancy/baby loss?

Some of the common symptoms include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, strong negative thoughts and feelings such as anger, fear, guilt or blame. People might find their sleep and appetite are impacted, they may not feel like socialising and may be on high alert or avoid people or places.

When do you recommend people contact you following the loss of a baby?

We recommend that people are not referred within the first 4 weeks of a loss, to allow your body and mind time to recover, and for us to intervene at the right time.

What are some of the common themes the team work with?

  • Traumatic birthing experiences related to loss/death of a baby
  • Working with grief alongside other mental health difficulties
  • Considering the role of community, ethnicity and culture in experiences of loss. 
  • Developing self-compassion
  • Working with guilt, shame and blame
  • Pregnancy loss and its impact on identity and future

Do you run any Group-based therapy?

We run a ‘Pregnancy after loss’ group which considers the impact of loss on current pregnancy including an ‘ask the midwife’ session for those who may not want to attend traditional antenatal classes.

We also offer peer support through a Tree of Life group for those who have experienced pregnancy loss/death of a baby and are not currently pregnant.

What would you say to anyone struggling who may be hesitant to get in touch?

Please do reach out to us. You are not alone, and we have seen many, many women going through similar experiences to yours. It might feel as though things won’t get better, but we can help you on your healing journey. You can bring a friend or family member with you to your session, and we can also arrange an interpreter if English is not your first language.

For more information about the service, please see our website.

Another helpful source of information is FiveXMore.

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