Mum of five thought kids would be better off without her


A mum-of-five thought her kids would be better off without her before she found the support of a women’s health and wellbeing charity in Liverpool.

Lisa McLoughlin, 48, was in the midst of post-natal depression after giving birth to twins in 2010, but she found support from the Women’s Health Information and Support Centre (WHISC) on Bold Street in Liverpool city centre.

Eight years since she first walked through their doors, Lisa, from Vauxhall, is now a paid outreach worker with the charity. But the top floor of their building has been damaged by a flooded roof, limiting the space available to help vulnerable women and threatening WHISC’s already tight finances.

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Lisa told the ECHO about her situation when she first came to WHISC in 2013.

She was hit by post-natal depression like she experienced after her previous pregnancies, but it was also a lack of interaction with other adults that knocked her down.

Lisa told the ECHO: “I’ve worked since I was 15 years old, and then to be off work for two years and just like, baby, baby, baby, you just lose everything, you know.

“And it’s mad, to think, you know, it’s only two years, but like, even interacting with other adults and stuff, and then you second guess yourself. Just your confidence goes completely.”

She struggled to hold back tears as she reflected on a time when she was worried she might do something ‘stupid’ to herself.

Lisa was pointed toward WHISC, a charity that has helped nearly 3,000 vulnerable women across Merseyside in the last 37 years.

Speaking of the first time she walked through their doors, she told the ECHO: “My nerves were just gone. I had dry mouth. I was just s******* myself. I don’t know, my head was just gone.

“And then it was the manager who actually, she noticed, she could see, because I was sweating, I was sitting there like a deer in the headlights, as they say.

The Women’s Health Information and Support Centre on Bold Street in Liverpool city centre

“She brought me up to the room upstairs and just sat me down and told me everything about WHISC. She was just lovely. I really ended up having a laugh with her and she just really made me feel at ease.”

Lisa was given one-on-one counselling at WHISC and did training courses in women’s health and stress management. She also volunteered at the charity a couple of days a week, eventually running her own project in the Somali women’s community of Liverpool 8.

Her mental health improved and she felt like herself again a few months in. She said this made her kids happier too, because they could notice the change in her.

Now a paid member of staff, Lisa helps the women who walk through those doors. And there are many of them. There are refugee women, victims of domestic violence, and women struggling with mental health.

The experience changed her life, and this helps her help others, as is true of many women who work or volunteer at WHISC.

Lisa told the ECHO: “I see it in women who walk through the door. So do you know what? I’m not glad I had that experience, but it’s actually turned into a positive, that experience.

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“Because now I can really empathise with women who are going through that because I’ve been there and I’ve been that woman.

“The amount of women that I see walking past WHISC, they might have walked past here about five time before they’ve come in. And you know I said to you before about that deer in the headlights, I recognise that look when I see someone come in.

“Or if I can see someone outside and they’re just reading our posters on the window, I’ll just go out, like, ‘You alright there?’, and just get talking.”

The rain that fell before the recent heatwave flooded the flat roof of the Bold Street building. The water seeping through the ceiling and dripping down the walls damaged an upstairs room used for talking to women one-on-one and making it unusable until it is repaired.

Helplines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at
  • PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit for more details.

  • Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email:
  • Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email:
  • The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email:

The cost of repair, a whopping £6,000, would deplete the charity’s reserves vital for sustaining the future of their services for vulnerable women.

So they are asking the public to lend a helping hand by donating to a crowdfund so they can resume full services and save their future.

Lisa finds the damage ‘heartbreaking’ and hopes it can be fixed soon, for WHISC’s sake and the sake of the women it helps.

She told the ECHO: “It’s such a lifeline for so, so many women. You know, it really is.”

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