What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a weeklong campaign dedicated to talking about mental illness during the perinatal period. The theme for this year’s awareness week is The Power of Connection, and will focus on connecting communities, virtual and real-life support, in a more equitable sense for diversity & equality
What is Perinatal Mental Health?
Peri meaning ‘around’ natal meaning ‘relating to or accompanying birth’. Perinatal mental health problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child (NHS, 2022).
Statistics and Facts
Perinatal mental health problems affect between 10 to 20% of women and 1 in 4 Dads will suffer from Postnatal depression.
In addition to the direct impact on families, perinatal mental health problems cost the social services and the NHS around £1.2 billion annually.
Mental health problems are a leading cause of death during the perinatal period. Maternal suicide remains the leading direct (pregnancy-related) cause of death postnatally. Fathers with previous mental health issues are 47 times more likely to be classed as a suicide risk during the perinatal period than at any other time period.
Women from Black ethnic groups 4 times more likely to die than women from White groups. Women from Asian ethnic backgrounds are almost twice as likely to die compared to White women. Women living in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to die than those who live in the most affluent areas. The impacts of social and ethnic inequalities and multiple disadvantages have been amplified during 2020-2021 (MBRRACE, 2021).
The impact of COVID-19 on health outcomes in the coming years will be profound (MBRRACE, 2021).
What can we do to help through The Power of Connection?
As seen within the 5 ways to wellbeing when we feel valued by and close to others this can improve our state of wellbeing.
Connecting contributes to how we function in the world.
Signposting is vital for connection also – However, effective signposting is essential. Please be aware of the following when signposting!
What – the group does and its limitations
How – do they do it
How can they be contacted – remember we all communicate in different ways and have preferred methods and
When – are they open
Let’s use the Power of Connection, Think community, Advocacy, Peer Support, Tea & cake, Lunch (at home, in the park or out), Online, Let’s talk, Let’s reduce stigma and increase connection, Let’s reduce social isolation and fear and increase socialisation and wellness.
Perinatal Mental Health does not discriminate and neither do we.