A poll which was carried out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has revealed that two in five new parents experience a mental health issue during or after pregnancy with their first child.
Despite this, less than half (46%) considered seeking help with a quarter of respondents saying it’s because they were too scared to do so. Worryingly, these findings confirm that there is still a stigma attached to mental health and it’s preventing people from seeking out potentially life-saving support.
It’s not just new mums who are experiencing problems either, a quarter of men said that they suffered from depression or anxiety during or after their partner’s pregnancy. Two-thirds of those surveyed however said that they were not asked about their mental health at all during the pregnancy.
Another big reason why new parents are so reluctant to speak to someone about how they’re feeling is because they feel like they can’t possibly be sad during what is supposed to be such a happy time of their lives. They also worry that going through depression or anxiety means that they will be deemed unfit parents.
Following the results of the poll, the RCN has called for more training to help combat the stigma towards new parents who experience mental health difficulties. Clare Dolman from the Maternal Mental Health Alliance commented:
“As a mother who experienced a mental health illness after the birth of my daughter, I am very aware of how frightening and isolating an experience it can be - and how much it can affect fathers too. I have met many women in a similar situation and the vast majority of them recover very well and are excellent parents, but they need the understanding and support of all those around them - not just family and friends but health professionals too.”
If you think that you could be suffering from postnatal depression, please feel free to visit our Knowledge Centre for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.