World Mental Health Day – a message to Netmums members from Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg

To mark World Mental Health Day we have a special guest blog post from Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who writes about post natal depression and how important it is for mums to get the support they need to help them through this.

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When you see your new child for the first time, you know that things will never be the same again. It’s a life changing experience.

For most parents, this is a very happy change and a time of joy. But all change requires adjustment, and sometimes that can be difficult to cope with. Many new parents get the ‘baby blues’ for a few days after birth. That is perfectly normal.

For around one in ten mums, the ‘baby blues’ don’t go away, and that can be a sign of postnatal depression.

It can hit you hard, sometimes straight after birth, but it can also creep up on you at any time up to a year later. The knock on effects for mum, dad and baby can be profound.

Like any other health problem, it shouldn’t be ignored.  We need to make good mental health everyone’s business. Knowing the signs is key – families who know the symptoms of postnatal depression can talk to their loved ones about it and seek help.

Symptoms include feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, angry or too exhausted to cope with the simplest tasks. Mums often feel under pressure to cope, so the signs of postnatal depression can be ignored and women try to struggle on. This means that even though postnatal depression is common, many women still don’t get the help they need.

Postnatal depression is an illness. If left untreated, it can have very harmful long-term effects, for both the mother and child. For example, a mother’s long-term depression can lead to her child developing behaviour problems and issues with bonding, sleeping and eating. It can also lead to her child developing learning difficulties at school and depression in later life.

With the right treatment mothers with postnatal depression can make a full recovery, and I want to make sure more women and their families get the support they need, when they need it.

Earlier this year, we promised more NHS help for women with postnatal depression. We are recruiting more heath visitors across the country and they will all now get specialist   training to spot the early signs of postnatal depression.  They will make sure all women get vital professional support during and after birth.  Health visitors and midwives will team up to offer the best help to new parents. They won’t just concentrate on the practical ins and outs of looking after a baby – much of the focus will be on the emotional wellbeing of the entire family.

When that isn’t enough, they will be able to refer women to counselling. The Government is investing £400 million in psychological and talking therapies which is a very significant expansion of the services available and a key element of the national mental health strategy “No Health Without Mental Health”.

We have also launched an NHS Information Service for Parents, which anyone can access at www.nhs.uk/parents. It is a new email and text messaging service providing parents-to-be and new parents with trustworthy advice about the issues they care about most.

The service includes more than 100 videos of health professionals giving practical advice. But it also has videos of parents discussing their own experiences, good and bad.  Topics include ‘What are the signs of postnatal depression?’, ‘How do I know if I have postnatal depression’ and, because we know that this is something that matters to fathers too, ‘How do I spot if my partner has postnatal depression’.

The messages also highlight where parents can find more information and support, as well as tips on how mothers and fathers can help each other during pregnancy, birth, and parenthood itself.

This will help to make sure all mothers can access mental health support throughout pregnancy and into early motherhood, so mother and baby have the best possible start.

One of the places we encourage mothers to go to is Netmums. If you think you may be suffering from postnatal depression, don’t struggle on alone – ask for help. You can start by exploring your feelings here in the Netmums Coffee House where there are trained Health Visitors who can provide advice.  If you think your partner or a friend may have postnatal depression, talk to them. Encourage them to speak to their local midwife, health visitor or GP.  Postnatal depression is an illness, so ask for help just like you would if you had a physical illness.

Nick Clegg.

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As Nick Clegg has mentioned there is support and advice available for anyone suffering from post natal depression on Netmums. Start by visiting our Support pages or our Drop-in Clinic, where trained Parent Supporters are on hand to give you advice. There is also advice to help partners and relatives lend support and some tips and ideas to help you help yourself too.

If you suffered with depression or anxiety either before or after you had your baby (or are still suffering), please tell us about your experiences so we can do more to help others

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
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7 Responses to World Mental Health Day – a message to Netmums members from Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg

  1. Pingback: Deputy Prime Minister supports World Mental Health Day « Steve Beasant

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  4. joanne britton says:

    I have facilitated courses for women suffering from PND for 3 years and the feedback and results have been amazing. Not only is this down to the material we cover each week it is also down to the social element of having time each week in the company of other mothers that they can relate to whilst their babies are safe in the creche in the room nextdoor. Mothers often form friendships from the group which carry on once the group has finished further reducing isolation. I feel very frustrated that these groups have stopped due to lack of funding! I have feedback from mothers thanking me as they feel the course and itys content saved their life. My other concern is from my experience many mothers did not open up to professionals i.e. health visitors due to fear of repercussions…there is still a huge fear of children being taken away and social involement. Once mothers realised we were an independant charity and ultimately were more interested in their wellbeing they were more comfortable opening up about their feelings. I just feel very passionate about this subject and have had the pleasure of working with 100’s of women and fear what will happen to mothers now a service that works has been stopped. Suffolk.

  5. jane darling says:

    I wouldn’t waste my time reading this; his “Demolition” party were the cause of my post natal depression!; the only support that Mums will get, are the rich ones. Who would have voted Lib dem if they’d known that they would end up being ruled by a dictatorship that no one voted in. Two nations here we come. Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 10:50:19 +0000 To: j.darling@hotmail.co.uk

  6. Anne Prendergast says:

    Joanne, I absolutely agree that mums have both a fear of opening up to professionals and also, unfortunately, sometimes a negative response when they have found the courage to do so.

    Some studies have put the incidence of PND up to as much as 30% of mums and many mums do not come forward for fear of being stigmatised or having their baby taken from them.

    I am a Specialist Practitioner with PSS Postnatal Depression Project in Liverpool. We offer a holistic and flexible approach which includes visiting mums at home, linking in with children’s centres where we provide support groups with a creche so that mums can have some time to be themselves knowing that their little one is being cared for. We offer a tailored, person-centred approach because in our 10 years experience of working in this field we know that whilst some symptoms may be similar, mums are very much individuals and need to be supported as such.

    We help mums to understand PND and the different types of Perinatal Illness. We help them to understand their own personal triggers that have resulted in them suffering from this illness. The most important aspect is that we LISTEN to mum and collaboratively we then build a path forward.

    We also work with Dads as they too, can suffer with depression after becoming a parent.

    If you would like more information about our project please contact us on 0151 702 5533 or take a look at our Facebook Page: PSS Post Natal Depression Project.

    We offer training to professionals. Our new website is due to be launched before Christmas.

    RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE

  7. Anisely says:

    Great points here.Depression hurts, but it doesn’t mean you are broken.Nice post about mental health day!

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