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HomeNewsMaternal Mental Health put into the spotlight by BC Children's Hospital

Maternal Mental Health put into the spotlight by BC Children’s Hospital

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and the BC Children’s Hospital is doing its part to raise awareness.

Their focus during the week is on maternal mental health as two in ten women across the province experience a mental health issue during pregnancy and in the first year following birth.

The Children’s Hospital says a high amount of consultations in Prince George and Northern BC region are taking place where a doctor is treating a patient suffering from things like post-partum depression.

“We know that if a woman is suffering from post-partum depression or anxiety that can affect her confidence or her ability to take care of her newborn and we know that with treatment and support this can be alleviated,” says Dr. Sulroop Sindhu, Reproductive Mental Health Psychiatrist.

Three most of the most asked questions people will ask someone experiencing a maternal mental health issue include How are you eating?, How are you sleeping?, and How are you feeling?

“If someone notices that they’re not hungry, not sleeping well or are just on edge, restless or crying a lot, or losing interest in things they normally enjoy this can just be red flags for someone or themselves to say maybe I need to go to my healthcare provider and see if this is an anxiety or depression I am going through.”

“Almost 85% percent of women can experience the baby blues after they give birth, they might cry a lot for no apparent reason or feel a little bit sad or anxious but that only lasts three to seven days and is a very short-term thing,”

However, Sindhu warns depression is a totally different animal altogether.

“This is where someone feels extremely sad or depressed and starts to feel hopeless and loses a lot of interest and becomes more withdrawn from their family or friends and that is when we see on whether or not this is a disorder whether this also affects the baby and the family.”

In our current culture, a lot of these symptoms are often perceived as normal during a pregnancy due to the various symptoms an expecting mother faces during the nine-month odyssey such as morning sickness and mood swings.

“In a lot of cases, women and post-partum is shown as women are going to feel amazing and you’re going to have this amazing birth and afterward you’re going to feel great with the baby and take the baby out but what a lot of people don’t talk about is that very commonly that isn’t the experience – some women struggle with depression, anxiety in pregnancy and the birth.”

The Provincial Health Services Association (PHSA) adds patients who are suffering can also access “telehealth” services for those not living in the Lower Mainland by referral.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs until Sunday.

For a link to mental health services click here.

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