Few facts about perinatal depression and anxiety:
- Perinatal refers to the period during pregnancy, and for one year following birth, although mental disorders related to birthing and parenting can be experienced at any stage. Recent research suggests that it is more common four years after birth.
- Although commonly associated with new mums, dads can also experience postnatal depression. Click this link to visit a website dedicated to new dads.
- Perinatal mental illness is not just about depression. There are a variety of mental health disorders that may first present in this period including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, even psychosis.
Perinatal mental disorders are common, serious, and treatable. The important thing is to seek help, and seek help early. Don't be afraid to let your health care providers (GP, obstetrician, midwife, maternal health nurse, psychologist etc.) know what you are thinking and how you are feeling.
Beyond Blue have an online questionnaire to help you check your symptoms (click here), and together with Smiling Mind have just launched a free smart phone app, called Mind the Bump, to help expecting parents support their mental and emotional well being during pregnancy and in becoming a new parent with mindfulness. You can read more about mindfulness in an earlier blog.
This week (16-22 November) is postnatal depression awareness week. PANDA (Post & Antenatal Depression Association) is calling for greater awareness of antenatal and postnatal anxiety, encouraging mums and dads to seek help early.
Sometimes you have to sift through a lot of rubbish to get to information gold!
I often find myself frustrated with the amount of unsupported information (or worse still, incorrect information!) that is available.
In an effort to help with your search, please see below some links to evidence based treatment programs, or information sheets, for helping with anxiety:
www.mentalhealthonline.org.au This website offers free online self help programs for a range of mental health disorders (including Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). These programs offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and includes online information, downloadable material and videos. There is empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of the programs. You can also choose to have the support of an online therapist by paying a small fee ($120 for 12 sessions).(Disclaimer: I am one of the researchers and clinicians involved with the OCD STOP! program).
www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=44 The Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) have a range of downloadable programs and worksheets that are freely available. The therapeutic approach tends to be either CBT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). They are fantastic... almost all of my private patients, at some point or another, will receive one of the information sheets from this website! The link posted is for the Panic treatment program, but there are other treatment programs for social anxiety and generalised anxiety (worries).
I'm sure that there are many more that I am missing out on. I will continue to update this post as I remember them! If you find an online resource that has been helpful for you, please post it in the comments box below.
(Picture sourced from imgfave.com/view/1449377)
Dr. Edmund Bruce-Gardner is an osteopath