A midwife has urged local pregnant women not to suffer in silence and instead reach out for help during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Leanne Ellis, who is a perinatal mental health midwife, said it was imperative women must continue to seek help for their mental health. She is supporting the 5th Annual Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week, which runs from Monday May 3 to Sunday May 9. Organised and led by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, the theme this year is ‘Journeys to recovery.’
Leanne said: “Having a baby is a big life event, and it is natural for women to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after their pregnancy. But if this starts to have an impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.
“When a woman conceives, or when the new baby arrives, there is an expectation that mum should be happy and excited, however it is estimated that one in four women will experience a mental health problem.”
Perinatal mental health issues happen during pregnancy or the first year following birth. They can have long-lasting effects on mums and families if left untreated. But mental health problems are treatable and recognising the signs early and seeking support quickly improves recovery and outcomes for mums and babies.
Women’s mental health symptoms can fluctuate and may include:
• Antenatal or postnatal depression
• Anxiety disorders
• Adjustment difficulties
• Bipolar disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Post-partum psychosis
• Suicidal thoughts
• Eating disorder.
Leanne said: “It’s important to ask for help or support. You’re likely to find that many new mothers are feeling the same way. It is about helping those women affected by maternal mental problems to access the information and help they need to support their recovery.”
Leanne is on hand to provide extra support for local mums and works alongside other healthcare professionals, including the specialist perinatal mental health service, and local mental health services, to make sure women and their families receive the help and support they need.
She said: “I am still working through the pandemic, contacting women over the phone, in a virtual clinic and if they are coming in for an existing appointment, I will see them in clinic. This has appeared to work well during the last year of the pandemic.
“These are challenging and unchartered times, but one thing remains a constant – local services are on hand to help, support and advise you and your families during this time.”
The perinatal mental health partnership for the region will be focusing on different things during the week including: what good support looks like; how we can work together to remove barriers to support services; what support is available for family and friends. To see the week’s themes please see Perinatal Mental Health Partnership on Facebook or on Twitter PMHP UK (@PMHPUK)
Further information can be found at www.everymummatters.com and the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership website at: https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/