Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day which forms part of a wider awareness week to raise maternal mental health issues so that more women seek help, receive treatment and fewer will suffer.
Together with organisations from around the world, the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) is united in a global effort to raise awareness about maternal mental health through a collective social media drive and in-country events.
Perinatal mental health problems occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Therefore, NLaG employs a specialist perinatal mental health midwife, Leanne Ellis.
Leanne has been a midwife with the Trust for nearly 22 years and is proud to have been in this this post since October 2017. She is committed to using her previous experience to underline the importance of mums – and potential future mums – reaching out if they need help.
“I think it’s really important that everyone has an awareness of mental health to break stigmas down and improve their knowledge, particularly when it comes to maternity,” she said.
“Mental health issues are so important to detect when someone is pregnant and needs acting upon quickly. Pregnancy is a time of many changes including emotional changes, mood changes and hormonal changes.
“Good maternal mental health is critical to make sure every baby is safe and nurtured and able to thrive, and women and their families are well supported. It is recommended all Trust’s should have a specialist midwife.
“We need midwives to be able to recognise the signs of a vulnerable parent and then signpost accordingly. I think noticing the signs and symptoms of perinatal mental health issues is crucial– with education being part of the role of the perinatal mental health midwife.
“Pregnancy is a critical point of someone’s life. It’s a whole new, different experience and if mothers are already struggling with mental health issues then they need support – it might be the first time that a mother has been able to talk and it’s important that we signpost in the correct and proper manner.”
As many as 1 in 5 new mothers and 1 in 10 new dads experience some type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder in many countries. These illnesses frequently go unnoticed and untreated, often with tragic and long-term consequences to mothers, children, and fathers alike. In the United Kingdom, the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP-UK) theme for the week is “Support for All,” advocating for all families affected by perinatal mental illness to access the information and help needed to begin recovery.