Maternal Mental Health
This page provides information about:
- How to find support if you think you might have postnatal depression
- If you are pregnant and are worried about getting postnatal depression
- Support for fathers concerned about their mental health
- How partners, family and friends can support someone with postnatal depression
Overview of Postnatal Depression
- Postnatal depression is a depressive illness which affects women having a baby.
- The symptoms are similar to those of depression. These symptoms may include low mood, feeling tearful, irritable, tired, anxious, sleepless, loss of appetite and things you enjoy doing, loss of interest in sex, negative and guilty thoughts.
- You might think that you are not a good mother, feel you can't cope with things and struggle to look after yourself and your baby.
- If you have been struggling with these symptoms for up to two weeks, you should talk to your partner and family and seek support.
- Postnatal depression can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.
"Over half of new mothers will experience the 'Baby Blues', which usually starts 3 to 4 days after birth." - According to Royal College of Pychiatrists
If you are struggling to look after yourself or your baby, or have plans to harm yourself or your baby, you should seek urgent help:
- Call 111 and press option 2 for the NHS 24 hour Crisis Support Line
- Go to your nearest GP surgery
- Go to your local Emergency Department.
Click the drop down boxes below which will navigate you to support.
For further advice on family wellbeing, health and education:
- Healthy Suffolk Maternal Mental Health Advice Page
- Healthy Suffolk Parenting Hacks Adivice Page - tips to help parents cope with babies crying.
- The Parent Hub
When and where should I seek support?
If you feel you have the baby blues, and have been experiencing the symptoms mentioned, for more than 2 weeks, tell your health visitor or GP.
You can also drop into your nearest family hub centre. Family Hubs are places where parents with children aged 0-5 can access Health and Children’s Centre services.
The help and treatment you need depends on how severe your PND is. Your GP and health visitor can help you decide what kind of help you need. Your GP may refer you to a Perinatal Mental Health Service.
Other support whilst seeking specialist support:
- Find a local parent support group in your area you can go along to where you can talk to other new mums about your experiences.
- Look for an online Facebook parent group you can join for support.
I am pregnant and worried about my mental health
If you are pregnant and are worried about your mental health during pregnancy or after giving birth, speak to your health visitor or GP.
You may find this page on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website useful - Mental Health in Pregnancy.
Where can dads get mental health support?
Where to get support?
Speak to your GP if you are worried about your mental health.
OneLife Suffolk and Public Health are helping to promote awareness of postnatal mental health with a focus on fathers. Go to their Postnatal Mental Health Campaign support page
Living Well with Baby Webinar is a workshop for parents and carers, where the stresses of the parenting role is impacting on their wellbeing.
How can partners and family help?
- Don't be shocked or disappointed if your partner, friend or relative says she has postnatal depression. It is common and can be treated.
- Make sure that you understand what postnatal depression is. Ask the health visitor or GP, or look on the NHS website to gather information.
- It's helpful just to spend time with someone who is depressed. It is important to listen and to offer support. Reassure her that she will get better.
- Be mindful of the language you use – this is an illness, not something someone can ‘snap out of’ or cure by ‘thinking positively’, so take this seriously and help her seek support from her GP or health visitor.