Leo’s is an award-winning neonatal mental health charity based in the NE of England.
We have been caring for families since 2018, and what a journey it has been.
We have evolved significantly during that time. In our inception we began by offering counselling, in the NICU peer support, welcome boxes, vCreate and heartbeat bears to name but a few.
In our first year we launched the world’s first awareness week, dedicated to neonatal mental health – Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week.
When the world was plunged into lockdown due to COVID-19, we adapted and found new ways of working – mainly online and remotely, we also saw, a huge rise in mental health worries.
Our new ways of working, and extensive funding, allowed us to completely revamp Leo’s, and create our dream service.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we as a service grew by 400% in need – which highlighted very clearly, that neonatal mental health and well-being was an area to be invested in.
Our work was recognised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and saw us in receipt of the Points of Light Award.
Once COVID had calmed down and life began to resume to some level of normality, we saw that the rise in mental health worries was not slowing down, and that our specific services and skills were needed more than ever.
In 2022 we decided to overhaul our provision, bringing as much of our services in house as possible.
This allowed us to not only just care for parents, but for the infants and children in our care too.
Now, our team work through both a Trauma Informed and Sensory Informed Lens, meaning we will always take into account, why you may feel the way you do.
Trauma shapes our sensory systems, and our sensory systems and trauma shape us each day, it informs the way react to situations, and the way we see and view the world.
We want to make sure we understand both of these crucial elements when families are in our care – always ensuring that they get the best most rounded care, using expertise of different fields.
“Trauma is not the story of something that happened back then. It’s the current imprint of that pain, horror and fear living inside people.” Bessel van der Kolk
Leo’s was born out of lived-experience. We know first-hand what it’s like to have a pregnancy not go to plan, have a baby or babies admitted to a neonatal unit, spend time in a NICU and SCBU, PICU admissions, hospital admissions, onoing worries about development and diagnosis, and neonatal loss. We’ve been there, and we get it. We’re still going through it, all these years later.
At its heart, Leo’s was set up to support the wellbeing of neonatal families, based off the experience of its founding members, this theme has continued to flourish in the last four years. We have adapted and responded to needs to be able to support our community effectively and innovatively.
We don’t just use our experiences to shape what we do here. Every family who has referred into Leo’s, or used a service, has helped shape the work we do. Every family leaves a legacy with us, which helps us create change and supportive services for the next family that needs us.
We are always learning (you can never know too much!), always wanting to do more, and always wanting to make sure, no one feels like we did.
Having no support after a neonatal stay or loss can be isolating and can cause a lot of worry and stress.
At Leo’s, you’re never alone, your worries and stresses are cared for, you get at tribe of wonderful people ready to welcome you and take great care of you.
Our Mission & Vision
Our motto at Leo’s is ‘We’ve Got You’, we hold families whilst going through some of the worst experiences of their lives.
Advocates for early intervention
To ensure families within neonatal care in the North East can access specialist neonatal mental health and well-being support when they need to.
To offer enhanced and innovative trauma and sensory informed care to families within Leo’s service, and position Leo’s as a leader in its field.
Offering compassionate and trauma informed care, using lived-expertise to shape the work we do, providing ample opportunities for early intervention and being a voice for change.