THOUSANDS of women are affected by post-natal depression in the United Kingdom each year, sometimes leading to fatalities, according to findings from the NHS.
It was discovered that as many as one in five women experience at least one mental health problem either during pregnancy or within the first year after giving birth.
Sophie Hale, 28, mother of two and sufferer of post-natal psychosis and depression, said: “Not enough is done, you can be quite vulnerable, and it is the most difficult time of your life when you become a mum.
“You can really struggle to connect with your baby, and you can really struggle to show love for them and be honest about your feelings.”
She suffered from depression and an eating disorder after her first child and then was diagnosed with post-natal psychosis after the birth of her second child.
During the first week after childbirth, it is estimated that around 85% of women experience some type of mood disturbance. For some, symptoms may be mild, however 10-15% of these women develop more significant symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
Sophie added: “More women should be encouraged to speak to professionals however professionals should be willing to listen more.
“I wish there were more people available to lend an open ear who would try and help someone who is having difficulties. You wouldn’t wish depression on your worst enemy.”
In recent years, there has been a recorded lack of funding for parental related mental health care.
Susan Bianes, lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Salford, said: “Health professionals have let mothers down. We have had services in place that entailed home visits for mothers during the first few days of having a baby, but these services have been reduced over time.
“This is due to lack of funding and shortage of midwives. Mothers should know their midwives and have continuity of care.”
However, the National Health Service (NHS) has announced plans to create new specialist centres for women who suffer from these illnesses.
The NHS plan to invest around 40 million pounds in to these centres, in a bid to help reduce the number of women who kill themselves or their baby.
The new mental health units are set to be distributed across 20 areas within the United Kingdom.
Each of these centres will include buddying services, where people who have already experienced child related mental health problems will be able to support new mothers.
For advice and support with regards to pre and post-natal depression in the United Kingdom and other related mental illness visit www.pandasfoundation.org.uk
Listen to Sophie and Susan speak below: