Each May is Maternal Mental Health Month. As many as 1 in 5 new mothers can experience some type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMD), often with consequences to mothers, children and partners.
Did you know that there is evidence that breastfeeding can have a preventative effect on mental illness developing? “A large scale research study published in 2014 showed that mothers who planned to breastfeed and who actually went on to breastfeed were around 50% less likely to become depressed that mothers who had not planned to, and who did not, breastfeed. Mothers who planned to breastfeed but who did not go on to breastfeed were over twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to, and who did not breastfeed.”
The BfN’s Breastfeeding and Maternal Mental Health webpage explores the complex relationship between maternal mental health and breastfeeding.
You can get involved in Maternal Mental Health Month by using the hashtag #MaternalMentalHealthMonth.
On Wednesday 6th May it’s World Maternal Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues and promote treatment for women. To join this campaign to support a worldwide effort to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues, use the hashtag #maternalMHmatters or visit the World Maternal Mental Health Day website.
In early May each year there’s also the UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, where various organisations join forces to raise awareness of mental health issues and share details of how to find services and organisations who can help:
Healthwatch - Untreated perinatal mental illness is one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and the first year after birth. Get involved in this week-long campaign dedicated to talking about mental illness while pregnant or after having a baby, as well as raising awareness of how people can seek support.
The Blue Dot Project - Our theme is Motherhood is Not Black and White: This year more than ever moms are feeling overwhelmed, confused and lonely due to the unprecedented events of COVID-19. Motherhood has felt grey and often it's treated like it's black and white -when it's nothing but. Join us to unpack the complications of life and motherhood together as we push to #makeovermotherhood
Mental Health at Work - ‘Kindness’ has been announced as the new theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Many organisations will be starting to consider, during these challenging times, how they can support Mental Health Awareness Week within their workplaces. Whilst managing mental health should be an integral part of working life every week of the year, more than ever we need to re-discover kindness in our daily lives.
Mental Health Foundation - We want to use the week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
You can get involved in UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week by using the hashtag #MaternalMentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #maternalmhmatters