Maternal depression is the second leading cause of disability among women globally and estimates suggest that up to one in five women will struggle with a mental health complication during the perinatal period.
The relationship between maternal mental health and child health outcomes is well documented and research is continually demonstrating the importance of early detection and treatment of maternal mental illness in early childhood developments. Maternal depression can impair the maternal/child bond and result in delayed physical, social and cognitive development with long term implications for physical and mental well being and related health outcomes. Mothers who are struggling with their own mental health concerns may find interaction with their child in this capacity more difficult and thus delay or impair this vital component of early brain development.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal mental health as “a state of well-being in which a mother realizes her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her community”. When confronted with mental illness, many women are unable to function in a way that allows them to contribute at a level that is consistent with WHO definitions.
It may surprise you to learn that:
- It is estimated that up to one in five perinatal women will suffer from a maternal mental illness. This prevalence makes mental illness the most common complication of the perinatal period, and a significant public health concern.
- More women will suffer from Postpartum Anxiety and Depression in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of Tuberculosis, Leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Lupus, and Epilepsy.
- Not only are women affected by poor mental health but impacts are felt directly by their partners, family, friends and community. When left untreated, mental illness can have a direct impact on early childhood development outcomes.
- Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), of which parental depression is one, can result in high levels of toxic stress on a child’s developing brain that can result in a greater likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes later in life.
We are calling for a national strategy for perinatal mental health so that parents can have a healthy start during pregnancy and in the early postpartum period and we need your help.
We have a series of meetings with different provincial ministers and stakeholders but we need some help with the cost associated with getting to these meetings. If this cause is important to you, Please donate to help cover the costs so we can continue moving this forward. You can see the full proposal here PAGE 8
You can also read about why this is needed https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/05/01/maternal-mental-health-canada_a_23424672/
Want to get more involved? Join the Perinatal Mental Health Coalition Canada on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/groups/399288077156491/