Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month draws attention to essential mental health concerns for mothers and families. Organizations around the world are coming together to increase awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and decrease the related stigma.
Helping mothers, Helping Babies! In California, as many as 1 in 5 new mothers experience some type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD). These illnesses frequently go unnoticed and untreated, often with long-term consequences to both mother and child. More than 600,000 women will suffer from a maternal mental health disorder in the United States every year, and only 15% will receive treatment. This not only effects moms, but 1 in 10 dads will also experience a perinatal mental health disorder following the birth of their baby. For more information please visit: https://www.postpartum.net/ or https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CFH/DMCAH/Pages/Communications/Maternal-Mental-Health.aspx
What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders? Any of the following can occur during pregnancy and/or the postpartum period: Depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders ARE treatable. Signs can include:
• Sleep disturbances and changes in appetite
• Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and despair
• Feeling inadequate as a mother
• Anxious or irritable feelings
• Panic Attacks
• Feeling emotionally disconnected from you baby
• Extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby OR lack of interest over baby’s safety
If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder there are resources available. You can call the following numbers:
Lake County 24-hour Crisis Line: 800-900-2075
Mother-Wise: A safety net for Lake County moms offering support (at no cost) in an effort to help prevent or minimize the effects of maternal mental health disorders. The Mother-Wise approach depends on community people and resources to provide individualized support. Program services include a stock of donated supplies, weekly moms’ groups in Lakeport, an active Facebook moms group, and home visits with trained volunteers called Saathis, which is Sanskrit for companion. For questions about the program please call the Program Director, Jaclyn Ley, at (707) 349-1210.
Toll-free Crisis Line: 888-587-6373
National Hope Line Network: 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Postpartum Support International: https://www.postpartum.net/
The BlueDot Project: The blue dot is the international symbol for MMH and is shared through social media and the community to raise awareness. The purpose of the campaign is to reduce the stigma of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders through education and awareness. To spread awareness, the Lake County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Program will be distributing BlueDot Project buttons and BlueDot Magnets to different community partners. If you would like to participate you can stop by the Lake County Public Health Department to pick-up materials. Let’s blanket Lake County in BlueDots!