What a year!
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a campaign dedicated to sharing and talking about mental health during and after pregnancy. The theme this year is ‘Journey to recovery’ and the final day of the week is all about reflection.
It’s all about raising awareness of perinatal mental health problems, supporting women affected by it, and helping families access the information and support they need as well as changing attitudes.
The pandemic has dramatically changed the way support for mums and families can be accessed.
- Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
- The most common mental health problems experienced during pregnancy and after birth are anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Women experiencing maternal mental health problems:
- Postpartum psychosis: 2 per 1,000
- Serious mental ill-health: 2 per 1,000
- Severe depressive illness: 30 per 1,000
- Mild-moderate depressive illness and anxiety states: 100-150 per 1,000
- PTSD: 30 per 1,000
- Adjustment disorders and distress: 150-300 per 1,000.
My Journey to Recovery
You can read about my maternal mental health story on a previous post, my journey to recovery. It is so important to keep raising awareness, to ensure that new parents recognise the signs sooner and ask for support earlier. Did you know that suicide is still THE leading cause of death of mums with an under one-year-old in the UK (source: 2019 MBRRACE study). Almost 13 years ago to the day, I nearly became one of those statistics. It really upsets me that this is still a statistic, but makes me more determined to keep raising awareness.
The last day of Maternal Mental Health Week is all about reflection. I am so lucky I can look back and see just how far I’ve come, and know that recovery is possible. However, with the impact that the pandemic has had, how do new parents access information and support?
Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP UK) are encouraging charities and local support groups to share their details on social media, so families know what support is available across the UK.
Use the hashtag #PMHPReachingOutForSupport to find support in your local area.
Or read this honest and informative post from PMHP member Evie Canavan sharing some fantastic resources for help. Support when mums need it most – Perinatal Mental Health Support during COVID-19 and beyond. | Evie Canavan BEM (wordpress.com)
If you are worried at all, either about yourself or someone you love then please reach out for help. Below are symptom checklists for perinatal mental health issues:
Please take time to read and realise that you are not alone, and things do get better. For friends and family, take time to listen and offer support where you can. Life is different right now, we need to take it easy on ourselves. If making it through the day means literally that, then do it. Everything else can wait. If you feel lost, reach out. And if you need a hug then I’m sending one right now.