Supporting employees experiencing Perinatal Mental Health Issues

What is Perinatal Mental Health?

A perinatal mental health problem may be experienced any time from becoming pregnant to a year after giving birth. Having a baby is a significant event in life, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. However, when difficult feelings start to cause bigger issues, this could be a perinatal mental health problem. More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or the first year after having a baby. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy, but if left untreated, mental health issues can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family.

Find out more on our page “What is perinatal mental illness

Who is affected?

  • Mums and Dads

  • Family members

  • First time parents

  • Existing parents

  • Employers

  • Friends

  • Colleagues

What impact can work have on Perinatal Mental Health?

The everyday pressures of work may have an impact on perinatal mental health and it’s important for employers to look out for these signs

  • Stress/pressures of work can add to stress/pressures at home

  • Anxiety around returning to work after maternity leave

  • Anxiety/feelings of guilt around leaving the baby to go to work

  • Tiredness/exhaustion/lack of sleep

  • Difficulty balancing work/life commitments

  • Feeling distanced from colleagues

  • Feelings of isolation

How can employers support employees experiencing Perinatal Mental Health issues?

Being aware of perinatal mental illness and what to look out for is a great start. You can browse our training, information and resources on the PATH website for advice. Take a look at our Parental Workplace Wellbeing Recommendations, and take the first steps towards becoming a PATH Parent-Friendly Employer

  • Encourage conversations around mental health and create a culture of openness in your organisation. This will help to reduce the stigma around mental health

  • Regularly check in with your employees – a simple “how are you doing” could make a big difference

  • Don’t be afraid of difficult conversations

  • Embrace flexible working and encourage your employees to prioritise their wellbeing

  • Ensure your employees have access to information and resources around perinatal mental health – our Families Hub is a great place to start

  • Stay in touch with your employees while they’re on parental leave. See our guide on Keeping in Touch days

  • Communication – find out what your employee wants and what support they would like. Every parent is different and will have different preferences. Our employee wellbeing plan can help you have these conversations

Single Employer

Information for Employers

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