Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 women will suffer from perinatal mental illnesses (PMI) during their pregnancy or in the year after the birth of their child?
This period of pregnancy and up to a year after birth is called perinatal. Medical professionals therefore call any mental illness that you might suffer from, during this period, a perinatal mental illness or PMI, and it can include things such as postnatal depression and anxiety. If these mental health illnesses go untreated they can have a huge effect on the woman, their baby and their wider support network including their partner, family and friends.
90% of women who are suffering with PMI do not receive the support they need, this may be because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
We’re inviting you to join us to end this stigma. Join us to help expectant and new parents be prepared for their journey, to understand perinatal mental illness and know where to find support if they need it.
Parenting is hard and no one has a manual on how to do it successfully. Feeling overwhelmed or sad sometimes is completely normal, but when these feelings start to become more constant it might be because you are experiencing mild (and in some cases more severe) symptoms of a mental illness.
There is nothing to be afraid of in seeking help if you need to – whether that’s from your family, friends, healthcare professionals or your employer to help make everything a little more manageable.
There are lots of different levels to PMI and it’s common for expectant and new mums and dads to be experiencing symptoms. Just because you are feeling low doesn’t mean that anyone thinks you are doing a bad job, it just means you might need a little bit of extra help for a while.
Lots of people are worried about speaking up because they’re afraid of what people will think of them and put on a ‘brave face.’ This is not okay and we need to speak more openly about these feelings that so many of us have, so that we can help to break down this stigma associated with PMI and start conversations to help people to feel more supported and heard.
Let’s work together to encourage new mums and their loved ones to talk about perinatal mental health. Let them know its ok to talk. Listen carefully and use our list of support services to reach out.
We have been working with Sandra Igwe, best-selling children’s author and founder of The Motherhood Group, and Mark Williams, mental health campaigner and founder of Fathers Reaching Out, to tell their stories of PMI and share our collective voice to reach those who might be suffering and unaware of how to seek the help they need.
Sandra Igwe is a best-selling children’s author and founder of The Motherhood Group.
Sandra suffered with PMI after the birth of her child and has shared her experiences of isolation and disconnect as a new parent.
Mental Health Campaigner
Mark Williams is a mental health campaigner and founder of Fathers Reaching Out.
Mark suffered with PMI after his wife’s emergency caesarean and has shared his experiences of trauma and feeling alone as a new father.
If you are an expectant or new parent, then please consider taking part in our research which aims to understand the impact of the campaign on people’s attitudes, experiences and understanding of perinatal mental illness.
You can access the survey here…
Here at PATH, we are dedicated to supporting the emotional and mental health of expectant and new parents during the pandemic and beyond. You can find out more about the project by clicking the link below. You can also join us on our journey.
Sign up to our ebulletin here…
We hope you will see more of the PATH campaign in your local area very soon. We will be reaching out to all parents, including partners, friends and family members who might be suffering themselves or worried about a loved one suffering from PMI. We want to show the signs, the emotions and the journey of recovery that is available, as well as help healthcare professionals and employers to better understand the repercussions of PMI and how to help a patient or employee through their journey.
Through surveys, focus groups, research and peer support sessions, we have developed resources to reach parents living with PMI, so that they can access support and know how and where to find it.
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