One in five mums struggles with maternal mental health. Having a baby is a big life event. It's natural to experience a range of emotions, whether that's during pregnancy or after baby arrives. And it's ok to say you're struggling - there's no manual, nothing that can really prepare you for suddenly having this brand new human who is your responsibility!
That's what Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is all about - a weeklong campaign dedicated to getting people talking about mental illness while pregnant or after having a baby. This year the campaign falls on May 1 - May 7, with the theme ‘Together in a changing world'.
What is maternal mental health?
Many of us have struggled with anxiety, depression and loneliness after a challenging year, with parents at a greater risk of poor mental health according to a survey by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
The research also found that women of colour and women from poorer economic backgrounds are more likely to experience mental health problems during and after pregnancy.
According to mental health charity Mind, a maternal or 'perinatal' mental health problem is one that you experience any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth. This may be a new mental health problem, or an episode of a problem you've experienced in the past. Partners may also experience mental health problems around this time.
The most common perinatal mental health problems include:
Talking about postnatal mental health
Watch Sara, Holly and Kate talk about their experience of mental health problems after pregnancy.
What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is organised and led by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK), who launched the first-ever UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week in 2014.
It's all about raising public and professional awareness of perinatal mental health problems, advocating for women affected by it, changing attitudes and helping families access the information, care and support they need to recover.
PMHP UK will provide a supportive platform for families and signpost them to vital resources and safe support which is what people need most at this time. The focus will be on ensuring parents feel well-informed and supported at a time when anxiety is heightened for so many.
This year's daily themes
Each day of this important week also has its own theme:
Monday 1st May: Starting the conversation about perinatal mental health
Tuesday 2nd May: Shining the spotlight on support
Wednesday 3rd May: World Maternal Mental Health Day #StrongerTogether
Thursday 4th May: Healthcare professionals hub to support healing
Friday 6th May: Perinatal Positivity Pot
Saturday 7th May: Support for all families
Sunday 8th May: Recap and reflect
To support maternal mental health week on social media, use the hastag #maternalmhmatters