For many parents who feel isolated and even depressed, the stigma surrounding mental health issues prevents them from reaching out to social and health services. Their condition often goes undetected, remains untreated and potentially worsens over time, with huge impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of both parents and child. Action for Children has revealed that loneliness is widespread among parents. According to the charity, 1 in 4 feel cut off from friends and support.
In the UK, there are public health services available, government-funded children’s centres, and now even apps that promise to help socialise parents. In my research I have found that the stigma surrounding loneliness remains strong, and that for those who feel particularly isolated, none of these solutions really work. After all, it takes courage and a certain social agility to manoeuvre playgroups and other parenting groups. For all but the free, government-funded activities, it also requires having enough economic means to attend.
HANDDIT is unique in that it leverages a process that already connects many parents, both online and in real life: the handing down of used kids items. The platform will streamline this process, making it a convenient tool to make and save money, reduce waste, and better manage what families own. There is mutual financial benefit to making connections, and therefore a mutual incentive to meet. As a local marketplace, HANDDIT focuses on getting families together within the community, with parents making organic connections that do not carry the expectations of friendship or the perils of rejection.