Each May the spotlight is shined on Maternal Mental Health with the whole month dedicated to Maternal Mental Health Month.
In late 2015, a small group of people met to start making plans for the first-ever World Maternal Mental Health campaign. This campaign aims to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues so that more women will get treatment and fewer will suffer.
The key messages are: • Maternal mental health matters. • Women, as well as their family and friends, need to know the signs of maternal mental ill-health and that they are not alone! • You can find help and support for perinatal mental health problems.
Before long the steering committee had grown to include representatives from around the globe, all with a common goal of increasing awareness of maternal mental health issues.
In many countries, as many as 1 in 5 new mothers experience some type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMD). These illnesses frequently go unnoticed and untreated, often with tragic and long-term consequences to mothers, children, and fathers alike.
Sometimes motherhood comes with challenges, emotional upheaval and social isolation. These challenges are neither universal nor isolated, each mother’s experience is unique, often balancing home, work and educational life, or recognising that women don't stop being mothers when their children start school or leave home. Here are three top messages to show support to struggling mothers.
Don’t be judgemental No parent is perfect and there’s no single definition of what a “good mum” is. We can all support each other by sharing challenges and solutions and by starting to talk more candidly about motherhood, accepting both the highs and the lows. Crucially don’t judge - every mother is trying her best.
Support mothers to have some ‘me’ time Give her the gift of time so she can continue to enjoy her favourite things. We all need some time to invest in things we find relaxing and enjoyable. Mothers with all the pressures upon them, sometimes need more help.
Create supportive groups Every mother needs to feel part of a community. Some may need encouragement to join new drop-in groups and others may want to stay connected to old friends as well as family. Groups can be formed around shared experiences, interests, cultures or languages.
For more information on supporting mothers, visit: www.mind.org.uk and www.mothersformothers.co.uk