• PREGNANCY
    Awareness of Maternal Mental Health Can Save Lives.
    How Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month helps.
    Reviewed by Tyler Woods

    KEY POINTS-
    May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month—a month to bring much needed attention to the mental health needs of new mothers.
    1 in 5 women experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and after childbirth, but most go undetected and untreated.
    Maternal mortality continues to rise in the U.S. and mental health is the leading preventable cause of death.

    As many as 1 in 5 women experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and/or postpartum. These diagnoses are known as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Unfortunately, healthcare providers are failing to conduct the necessary screenings to detect who is suffering and offer the necessary support. Recent data indicated less than 20 percent of pregnant and postpartum women are being assessed for mental health concerns and only half of the women who screen positive received follow-up care. There is clearly a need for increased awareness and quality treatment of maternal mental health.

    What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month?
    May marks the start of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, with the first week of the month marked as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. The first Wednesday of May is World Maternal Mental Health Day. These maternal mental health awareness dates have been celebrated since 2016.

    The marker provides an opportunity to join maternal mental health advocates, parents, and the people who support them to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues so that more new parents can get the treatment and support they deserve. Mental health issues are the most common complication of childbirth and nobody should suffer when effective treatment options are available.

    Why We Need Maternal Mental Health Awareness
    Maternal mental health disorders have significant long-term impacts not just on the well-being of the person who gave birth, but when untreated, on the whole family. Research demonstrates the potential for physical and emotional impacts on infants as well as impaired mother-infant bonding.

    Perhaps the most startling and disturbing data is related to maternal mortality. In the U.S., the maternal mortality rate is more than twice that of most other developed countries.

    A majority of maternal suicide or overdose deaths are caused by a lack of behavioral healthcare. This underscores just how significant failing to diagnose and treat a maternal mental illness can be: sometimes a matter of life and death.

    What Are Signs of a Maternal Mental Health Concern?
    Common symptoms of mental health concerns can mirror typical pregnancy or postpartum symptoms—changes to weight, energy, sleep, libido, and emotions. As such, maternal mental health issues might be written off by the person experiencing them, the people around them, and even medical professionals. If any of the following symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, are impacting functioning, or are causing distress, you should talk with a health professional immediately.

    Feelings of sadness
    Feeling disconnected from others, including the baby
    Feelings of hopelessness or low self-worth
    Feeling irritable, angry, or on edge
    Difficulty coping
    Difficulty with sleep beyond what is expected for pregnancy or new parenthood
    Changes in appetite or weight fluctuations beyond what is expected for pregnancy or the postpartum period
    Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that typically bring joy
    Thoughts of harm to self and others, including baby

    How to Get Involved this Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
    On World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day share your unfiltered story about becoming a new parent on social media to reduce the stigma around maternal mental health and use the hashtag #maternalMHmatters.
    Donate to or volunteer at a local charity that supports new parents.
    PREGNANCY Awareness of Maternal Mental Health Can Save Lives. How Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month helps. Reviewed by Tyler Woods KEY POINTS- May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month—a month to bring much needed attention to the mental health needs of new mothers. 1 in 5 women experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and after childbirth, but most go undetected and untreated. Maternal mortality continues to rise in the U.S. and mental health is the leading preventable cause of death. As many as 1 in 5 women experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and/or postpartum. These diagnoses are known as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Unfortunately, healthcare providers are failing to conduct the necessary screenings to detect who is suffering and offer the necessary support. Recent data indicated less than 20 percent of pregnant and postpartum women are being assessed for mental health concerns and only half of the women who screen positive received follow-up care. There is clearly a need for increased awareness and quality treatment of maternal mental health. What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month? May marks the start of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, with the first week of the month marked as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. The first Wednesday of May is World Maternal Mental Health Day. These maternal mental health awareness dates have been celebrated since 2016. The marker provides an opportunity to join maternal mental health advocates, parents, and the people who support them to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues so that more new parents can get the treatment and support they deserve. Mental health issues are the most common complication of childbirth and nobody should suffer when effective treatment options are available. Why We Need Maternal Mental Health Awareness Maternal mental health disorders have significant long-term impacts not just on the well-being of the person who gave birth, but when untreated, on the whole family. Research demonstrates the potential for physical and emotional impacts on infants as well as impaired mother-infant bonding. Perhaps the most startling and disturbing data is related to maternal mortality. In the U.S., the maternal mortality rate is more than twice that of most other developed countries. A majority of maternal suicide or overdose deaths are caused by a lack of behavioral healthcare. This underscores just how significant failing to diagnose and treat a maternal mental illness can be: sometimes a matter of life and death. What Are Signs of a Maternal Mental Health Concern? Common symptoms of mental health concerns can mirror typical pregnancy or postpartum symptoms—changes to weight, energy, sleep, libido, and emotions. As such, maternal mental health issues might be written off by the person experiencing them, the people around them, and even medical professionals. If any of the following symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, are impacting functioning, or are causing distress, you should talk with a health professional immediately. Feelings of sadness Feeling disconnected from others, including the baby Feelings of hopelessness or low self-worth Feeling irritable, angry, or on edge Difficulty coping Difficulty with sleep beyond what is expected for pregnancy or new parenthood Changes in appetite or weight fluctuations beyond what is expected for pregnancy or the postpartum period Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that typically bring joy Thoughts of harm to self and others, including baby How to Get Involved this Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month On World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day share your unfiltered story about becoming a new parent on social media to reduce the stigma around maternal mental health and use the hashtag #maternalMHmatters. Donate to or volunteer at a local charity that supports new parents.
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