In the News

Oct 03

4Children, a national charity supporting children, young people and families in communities across Britain, has today published a major report entitled ‘Suffering in Silence’, looking into the experiences of families with postnatal depression.

It finds that as many as 35,000 women are suffering in silence with postnatal depression each year.

The survey, undertaken by the parenting club Bounty, reveals that a toxic combination of lack of awareness of the symptoms of postnatal depression and fear of the stigma attached to it are preventing thousands of new mothers from seeking help at the early stages of this illness. This, despite that fact that an estimated one in 10 new mothers will suffer from it – approximately 70,000 women a year in England and Wales – from across the social spectrum.

According to the survey findings, 49% of women who had postnatal depression had not sought professional help. Of these women:

  • almost a third (29%) did not realise they were suffering from postnatal depression;
  • 60% did not believe their symptoms were serious enough to warrant treatment; and even more worrying
  • 33% said they were too scared to tell anyone because they were afraid of what might happen to themselves or their child.
  • 50% of mother who did seek professional help waited at least three months, with 27% waiting more than six months to do so

To raise awareness, 4Children is encouraging others to share the Top 5 postnatal depression symptoms to look out for (provided by Netmums) via Facebook, Twitter, or your own website:

  1. Low mood or feeling miserable for long periods of time.
  2. Lack of energy, feeling constantly tired and unable to cope.
  3. Difficulty in sleeping or problems with eating.
  4. Feeling overwhelmed, or guilty for being a ‘bad mother’.
  5. Feeling very anxious or fearful, for example, you may worry a lot about the health and safety of your baby.

Additionally, you can sign the Give me Strength petition on the 4Children campaign website.

Personally speaking, I was lucky enough to not be affected by Postnatal Depression after the birth of my daughter. However I don’t for a second doubt how lonely and alienating it can be. I remember being asked to complete the Edinburgh PND test and thinking at the time this just isn’t a good enough way of assessing a new mum’s genuine state of mind – it could be so easy to lie for fear of the repercussions.

If you have any insight to share on the subject, or personal experiences, please feel free to use the comments section below.

About the Author

Wendy McAuliffe

Social media & online PR consultant and trainer, and ex-journalist. Founder and Director of Populate Digital and Mum of two. Living by the sea in Bournemouth. @wendymcauliffe.

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