Having a baby is a major life event for mums and dads, and it's natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after the pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on day to day life, it might be a sign of a mental health problem.
At least one in five women experience mental health difficulties during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new problem or another episode of a mental health problem they have experienced before.
Here in North East Lincolnshire we would like to improve the services available to families experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties and would welcome your views, thoughts and experiences.
Sharon Humberstone, who is working on improving perinatal mental health services with North East Lincolnshire CCG, said:
“It can be really hard to talk openly about how you're feeling when you become a new parent but it's important to ask for help or support if you need it. You're likely to find that many new mothers – and also new dads - are feeling the same way.”
You might feel:
- pressure to be happy and excited
- like you have to be on top of everything
- worried you're a bad parent if you're struggling with your mental health
- worried that your baby will be taken away if you admit how you're feeling
Dads can also suffer from mental illness relating to the birth of their baby and this is now becoming more recognised.
These are known as perinatal mental health problems and include range of issues such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychosis and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Previous mental health issues can be a factor so it is important that you tell your midwife/GP/Health Visitor about this especially if it is a diagnosed illness and you have needed treatment. This can help with early intervention and prevention.
Sometimes it is family and friends who recognise that a mum is ill and they are often crucial in supporting that woman to seek help.
If you have experienced mental or emotional difficulties around the birth of a child or have some thoughts or information you want to share, we would very much like you to join us at one of our informal and welcoming workshops:
12th July Immingham Children’s Centre 2pm to 4pm
13th July Riverside Children’s Centre 2pm to 4pm
14th July Reynolds Children’s Centre 2pm to 4pm
19th July Nunsthorpe Children’s Centre 2pm to 4pm
20th July East Marsh Children’s Centre 2pm to 4pm
You can complete our online survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BW3KVWR.
You can listen to the experiences of other women who have experienced emotional or mental health difficulties around the birth of a child by visiting www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health