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October 9 2023Read more
Maternal Mental Health Week is a campaign dedicated to recognising and raising awareness of mental health problems that arise before, during and after pregnancy. In honour of this week, we want to dig deeper into perinatal mental health and the different ways this can affect women.
Perinatal refers to the time a woman is pregnant all the way through to several years after the child has been born. Throughout this time a woman will go through a lot of change on many levels and this can have an impact on mental health. Perinatal mental health also includes any conditions that may have existed before pregnancy.
Around 1 in 5 women experience a perinatal mental health problem during pregnancy or within the early postnatal years and 70% will hide or underplay their illness.
Some of the most common mental health problems experienced during the perinatal period include:
Not every woman who goes through pregnancy will experience these conditions, and those who do can experience them in either, mild, severe, or moderate levels.
Awareness and support for perinatal mental health are lacking, and that’s what this awareness campaign is all about. This year’s theme is together in a changing world and the focus is about how we can all do our bit to learn about perinatal support and support either ourselves or people around us. Below, we’ll look at some different ways you can support the women in your life, before highlighting some fantastic resources available for women seeking support during the perinatal period.
One of the best ways you can support the women in your life through the perinatal period is by providing a safe, supportive space for them to confide in should they need too. When we have somewhere to turn to talk about our mental health where we won’t get judged, it helps to prevent things from getting worse by emotions and thoughts becoming bottled up.
Learn what you can about the perinatal period and how women are affected, the different mental health conditions and how these can be improved. By gaining knowledge and understanding in this way you’ll be better at helping women through any challenges they might be facing. A good place to start is with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance website.
If you’re struggling with your mental health as a mum-to-be or after you’ve had your baby know that you’re not alone. But you are in the right place; the resources below will help you—support is available.
Netmums: Access free online support and find a local support group near you.
PANDAS: A fantastic organisation that provides empathy and support for anyone affected by perinatal mental illness including a free helpline, email support and support groups.
Petals: Free counselling for anyone affected by baby loss.
Samaritans: A free helpline and live chat service for anyone who’s struggling with their mental health (available 24/7, 365 days a year).
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