'It became a vicious circle' - Labour MP Ellie Reeves speaks out over parental loneliness at Jo Cox Commission event
PUBLISHED: 12:48 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:58 17 November 2017
Mrs Reeves was speaking in Parliament
Lewisham West and Penge’s MP has spoken out over her battle with loneliness after her having her first child.
Mother-of-one Ellie Reeves said she struggled to get out of the house after becoming a parent.
The Labour MP made the comments in Parliament on Wednesday before organising a meeting of parents and support groups as part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
The commission was set up to spread awareness of isolation, in memory of the former Labour MP who was murdered in June 2016.
Speaking on the topic of parental loneliness, Mrs Reeves said: “It became a vicious circle where the more isolated I became the harder I found it to go out. Thankfully with support, I was able to get back on track”.
The MP, who was voted into her constituency at this year’s June election, was joined on Thursday by groups including Action for Children, The Young Women’s trust, Mummy’s Gin Fund, Bromley & Lewisham Mind and The Red Cross.
Helen Hamston from parental support network, Mummy’s Gin Fund said: “Parental loneliness was the catalyst for starting Mummy’s Gin Fund, which has now become an essential support network for tens of thousands of parents. With so many people living away from their family, it falls to the whole of society to come together to form a ‘village’ around our children and their parents.”
Speaking after the event, Mrs Reeves said: “It was brilliant to hear about all the hard work that is being done to tackle parental loneliness but it was clear that access to services for those most isolated and reduced health visitor support are big concerns.
“I hope that the work of the commission encourages people to reach out to their communities and for people to know that it is ok to say they feel lonely and to ask for help and support.”
Research by Action for Children has found that over 50 per cent of parents had experienced a problem with loneliness, with 20 per cent of parents feeling lonely in the last week.
Pawel Wisniewski of the British Red Cross said: “Our research shows that loneliness is an epidemic affecting adults of all ages, with new parents particularly at risk. Through practical and emotional support, our local Connecting Communities service aims to tackle loneliness in Lewisham and help people with nowhere to turn reconnect to their community.”