Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mental health and maternal health.

Broadly has a piece up called When New Moms Die from Mental Health Issues, We Are 'Failing as a Society,' not the greatest title, but it's all there.

The article discuses postpartum psychosis - something that affects 1 in 1,000 mothers. I'd never heard of the disorder, having mostly heard of postpartum depression. Postpartum psychosis can be severe and the examples given in the article are pretty terrifying. 
A study published in the Journal of Women's Health explains that postpartum psychosis usually occurs shortly after childbirth and "is marked by symptoms of mood lability [mood swings], cognitive disorganization, delusional beliefs, and hallucinations." Treatments for postpartum psychosis include therapy and antipsychotics.
The article goes on to site a study that Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Women's Mental Health study that says 85% of women will suffer "some type of mood disturbance." They add that the New York State Department of Health reports up to 20% of women developing perinatal depression.

It ends with a pretty powerful quote by Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, the director of the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health:
Mental health needs to be part of the overall conversation about maternal health. Not only do OB/GYNs need to make sure that a mother is physically healthy—that she's exercising, etc.—but that she's feeling healthy, on a holistic level. And if she's not, OB/GYNs need to be there to reassure mothers that whatever they're feeling—whatever 'bad' thoughts they're having—are normal. You're not a bad mom because you're dealing with mental health issues.
This needs to be destigmatized, and this bill could help do this. Mental health should be openly discussed. It's part of the process of birth. If we see one more mother die because of an undiagnosed mental health crisis, we are failing as a society.
Take a look at the article. I have a few friends who have had babies recently. We talk about how they're feeling, and they both have present, supportive partners, so I feel that they're stable, but I know mental health struggles well enough to know that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I'm going to e-mail them the article, with a little preface that it's important stuff to know, and to talk openly about. Is that weird?

No comments:

Post a Comment