Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

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Around one in five women are affected by perinatal mental illness. These issues can often have long-last effects on the woman, the child and the wider family.

This week (Monday 3 May – Sunday 9 May) is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021. It is a campaign created to raise awareness of the mental health problems that many individuals face during and after pregnancy.

Postnatal mental health problems often develop slowly and are not always easy to recognise. Signs that people should try and look out for in someone who has recently given birth include:

  • struggling to bond with their baby
  • regularly crying for no obvious reason
  • withdrawing from social contact
  • loss of appetite
  • losing their sense of humour
  • not looking after themselves, e.g. not washing
  • having a negative outlook on everything
  • excessive worrying
  • intrusive thoughts
  • losing sense of time.

It’s not uncommon to feel upset and anxious after having a baby. This is often known as the ‘baby blues’ and normally only lasts for a few days. It is recommended that you seek professional help if these symptoms persist for longer than two weeks.

The sooner these mental health issues are diagnosed, the quicker they can be treated. You can talk to your midwife, GP or health visitor if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health after pregnancy.

Michele Benjamin, a chartered legal executive in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Perinatal mental illness has sometimes been regarded as a fairly taboo subject and it’s therefore so important to raise awareness about the recognisable signs of someone suffering. Too often within our area of work we tragically see mental health symptoms often being dismissed or going unnoticed to the point where it is too late for intervention.”


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