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News Release

Recognize World Maternal Mental Health Day – May 4, 2016

May 04, 2016
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The first ever World Maternal Mental Health Day is being recognized today, May 4, as a way of raising awareness that life with a new baby can lead to unexpected changes in some new mothers, including mood and anxiety disorders.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The first ever World Maternal Mental Health Day is being recognized today, May 4, as a way of raising awareness that life with a new baby can lead to unexpected changes in some new mothers, including mood and anxiety disorders.

“For many women, having a baby can be a wonderful experience, but some new mothers can experience more serious adjustment difficulties, which can include postpartum depression and more,” said Natalie Riewe, child health program manager for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “The goal of recognizing World Maternal Mental Health Day is to increase awareness and help improve screening, treatment and care for women and their families, and to reduce the stigma of maternal mental illness.”

Most new moms experience the "baby blues" but these feelings usually go away without treatment.
However, some new mothers experience more severe complications including postpartum depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar, and/or psychosis.  Women of every culture, age, income level and race can develop postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. 

Symptoms may begin during pregnancy or after the baby is born, and they can occur anytime during the first year after a baby is born.  A new mom may feel sad, tearful, exhausted but unable to sleep, overwhelmed, hopeless, restless, anxious, disengaged from the baby, or afraid to be alone with the baby. Women experiencing these symptoms should speak with their health care provider; with effective and well-researched treatment options, women and their families can recover.  

“Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders often go unnoticed and untreated, which can have long-term consequences for both mother and child,” said Riewe. “They also affect the entire family; men and partners can also experience emotional difficulty, especially if their partner is depressed.

“One in five Canadians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime – it’s important to know that there is help.”

As part of a new initiative, the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integrated Network has partnered with Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and hired a coordinator to create a better understanding of existing and needed community supports throughout the area for local women and their families affected by postpartum mood disorders.

World Maternal Mental Health Day will be held each year on the first Wednesday of May, close to “Mother’s Day” and “Mental Health Week”, the first week of May in Canada.  For more information about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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