25 February, 2019

Breaking Down The Stigma Of Post-Partum Depression

Eden Health Care Services is hoping to raise awareness over how common post-partum depression can be.

“Post-partum depression is something we triage very high, we look at this as a priority,” Dana Human says.

Dana Human, Program Director at Eden Mental Health Centre & Community Intensive Case Management Program.

Human is the Program Director at Eden Mental Health Centre &
Community Intensive Case Management Program. She explains women enter a
natural adjustment period after childbirth, “many moms experience it in
many different ways and have many different emotions.”

However, she nearly 75 percent of new mothers experience “baby blues”
during the transition time, a two-week period of feeling sad,
overwhelmed, anxious and tired.

If the symptoms don’t go away after two weeks, Human says mothers are often experiencing post-partum depression.

“There’s no single cause… it can be physical, hormonal, social,
psychological and emotional. All these factors play a huge role in any
depression,” Human says, adding it varies from one person to the next.

“Many of the moms I know just couldn’t control the crying episodes.
They’re consistently tired even after a good rest, some have trouble
falling asleep and others have the complete opposite… just wanting to
sleep all the time.”

The biggest concern is families need to be the most open and honest
about; having thoughts of death and suicide, even taking the life of
their child. “We have to make it a norm for moms to come in and talk
with their doctors, public health nurses… and tell them about what
they’re experiencing.”

“There are lots of ways to get mom back on a healthy track and they need the help of a healthcare professional.”

Human notes every woman is different and responds to different supports, from counselling to medication in some circumstances.

In the end, family and friends have the most important role. “They
have to be able to keep an eye on the new mom, talk to the mom on how
she’s feeling… and give her a break from the baby at times.”

“It comes down to small things like helping moms with chores and giving them reassurance and encouragement.”

“Too many women suffer in silence due to the fear of being seen as a
bad mom… and of course the awful stigma that people can still have of
mental health,” Human says. “We have to remember this can affect any mom
and we just need to reassure them it’s not their fault and the sooner
they get help, the sooner they’ll feel better.”

Anyone in crisis or experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harm
towards their baby are encouraged to call Southern Health Sante Sud
crisis line anytime at 1-888-617-7715.

“We need to break down the stigma barriers and make it ok for people to talk about this and get the help they need.”

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