Half of all new mums are concerned about their mental health.
Many are suffering in silence, according to new research released by NCT as it launches its #BeyondBabyBlues campaign.
The NCT says that almost one in five (18%) callers to their helpline had a mental health issue to discuss and over a third (35%) had not spoken to a healthcare professional about it.
The #BeyondBabyBlues campaign aims to encourage people to talk more openly about maternal mental health, and to avoid the mistake of dismissing potentially serious mental health issues in themselves, friends or family and to seek help.
NCT is asking people to show their support for the campaign and for each other on social media by sharing pictures of themselves linking hands with someone else, or even with themselves, under the hashtag #BeyondBabyBlues.
Beyond the Baby Blues
Some women are affected by the ‘baby blues’ which can leave mums feeling emotional, irritable and depressed within the first few days or weeks after giving birth. This is thought to be triggered by hormonal, psychological and social changes associated with childbirth, but the feelings of low mood typically reduce after a few days.
If symptoms persist or worsen, begin at a later stage, or even in pregnancy, it can be something more serious such as antenatal depression, postnatal depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. However there’s a danger this can be dismissed as the ‘baby blues’, therefore many mums don’t seek help.
Comedian and former psychiatric nurse Jo Brand said:
“The time before and after giving birth can be really stressful for women. For many of us, it is not the straightforward, happy time we associate with the arrival of a new baby. This is why it’s essential for new mothers to have the right support at the right time. NCT’s research shows a huge number of mums are affected in some way by perinatal mental health issues and it’s no laughing matter. NCT’s longstanding experience and investment in research means they are an essential part of the fabric of childbirth in the UK from education to support and campaigning for improved services. This is why I’m supporting their #BeyondBabyBlues campaign.”
Coronation Street actress Jennie McAlpine is a patron of Mood Swings (a mental health charity); she said:
“Since becoming a mother myself, I know just what an amazing job mums do. I'm in awe of all of us! I can also see that so much more needs to be done to support mums whose mental health is suffering, for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families. If you need help - please ask someone. I’ve seen myself how support can make all the difference.”
For more information about the campaign visit nct.org.uk/beyond-baby-blues