Category Archives: Parental Mental Health

[#WMMHday Blog Series] “When our eyes met”

This post is crossposted By Analía Sierra

When our eyes met

At first everything was new, I did not know what to expect. I got at the end of those nine months without enough information but with all the excitement and expectation that would be the most important moment of my life.

 I had many fears, and they all were reason for my hospitalization- I have always been a healthy woman and have never been in a similar situation- My concern about that was big, I have never liked the idea of going through a surgery and this was the closest I was going to be to a surgery room … In my mind I had the old phrases , which grandmothers and mothers say, “You will forget everything, … it is a special moment and such a joy when you deliver your child all pains stops” … When the moment arrived, everything went slowly. They were long 11 hour of waiting … waiting for something I wasn’t sure what or who, if the anesthetist, the obstetrician or my child deigns to leave …

Analía’s blog is also available Spanish

Make your voice heard!
Tell your story to help raise awareness for maternal mental health issues so that more women will get treatment and fewer will suffer. Submit your blog here

Source: When our eyes met – WMMH Day

Reflections from Cape Town, South Africa by Dr Robert Nettleton

The second in a series of blogs by Dr Robert Nettleton, Education Advisor, Institute of Health Visiting, on his travels to Cape Town, South Africa through his Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship 2017. He met our director, Simone Honikman, and our clinical team at Mowbray Maternity Hospital:

“The connection between a ‘trauma-informed’ approach and infant and perinatal mental health was obvious from my visit to the Perinatal Mental Health Project team at Mowbray Maternity Hospital, led by Simone Honikman.

There is an ‘epidemic of mental distress among women living in adversity’. Alongside wealth, there are extensive townships or informal settlements that are a legacy of the apartheid era in which, for example, 50% of women are HIV positive and levels of domestic, gender-based and sexual violence are high, as is poverty. Providing for accessible front-line assessment of mental health distress is a priority, through providing training to a range of workers and also within the community through ‘social connectors’ (I’ll learn about this more next week).

A challenge that resonated for me was about promoting quality and consistency in a fragmented system where there is also a heavy reliance on separate NPOs (not-for-profits) as providers of services.

Two key learnings for me were:

  1. The importance of what Simone calls ‘self-care’ – what we might call supervision with a substantial restorative component. I met, briefly, Charlotte who provides counselling out of a cubby-hole of an office in a maternity hospital. Her heart was bigger than her office! Maintaining resilience is something that we know is important, and the ‘Sollihull Approach’, while not rolled out in Cape Town, was something that colleagues recognised as applicable.
  1. The dilemma of seeking to deliver a quality service within a very low-resource environment. This resonated with me as we face resource pressures in the UK. We discussed and reflected on what would be the essential elements of a service (the ‘active ingredients’ or ‘programme mechanisms’) and what could be delegated or substituted without placing effectiveness at risk. The ability to form effective empathic relationships is one of those essential elements common to both South Africa and the UK, as is support and supervision.”

Source: Reflections from Cape Town, South Africa – week 2 – IHV

Integrating Maternal Mental Health into Maternal and Child Health Programmes

Misconceptions regarding maternal depression are obstacles to the integration of mental health initiatives in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programmes.

The myths about maternal mental health include the beliefs that: maternal depression is rare, not relevant to MCH programmes, can only be treated by specialists, and its incorporation into MCH programmes is difficult.

Fact is that: Maternal Depression is the second-leading cause of disease burden in women worldwide, following infections and parasitic diseases

In the second article of a five-part series providing a global perspective on integrating mental health, Atif Rahman and colleagues argue that integrating maternal mental health care will help advance maternal and child health.

This can be achieved by collaboration between policy makers in mental health and those in MCH for action that will advance maternal and child health status. And by linking strategies to improve maternal mental health to broader development goals, including poverty reduction and gender empowerment.

 

Source: Grand Challenges: Integrating Maternal Mental Health into Maternal and Child Health Programmes

Domestic violence during pregnancy

Domestic violence is any physical, sexual, psychological or economic abuse that takes place between people who are sharing, or have recently shared a home.

In Africa, there is more violence against women than on any other continent. Three women are killed by their partners in South Africa every day, thats twice as many women than in the United States of America. Violence during pregnancy has negative effects for both the mother and the child. Abused women are more likely to delay getting pregnancy care and to attend fewer antenatal visits.

Our recent research study looked at pregnant women who experience domestic violence in Hanover Park, Cape Town. We looked at the profile of women who reported domestic violence and what factors in their lives were associated with this abuse.

domestic_violence_during_pregnancy

We found that women who were experiencing domestic violence were more likely than those without domestic violence to:

– have a current mental health problem like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviours, alcohol or drug abuse

– have had past mental health problems
– have experienced past abuse
– not feel supported by their partner
– not likely feel pleased about being pregnant
– more likely experience food insecurity and not have a job

Out of this study with developed a learning brief which targets any service providers who interact with vulnerable women and children, especially those service providers who work with pregnant women. Such services providers can arise from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) or civil society organisations and may be healthcare providers or social service providers.
Find this and more on our resources for professionals pages.

Integrating mental health care into maternal and infant care can help low-income families

Integrating therapy, other services, or information into routine visits can make getting help easier and chip away at the stigma regarding postpartum depression.

Photo: Shuttershock Image: Shuttershock

Unlike the “baby blues,” which are commonly associated with mild feelings of worry and fatigue after having a baby, postpartum depression is a mood disorder characterized by a broad range of symptoms including anxiety, extreme sadness, and exhaustion.

Source: How Folding Mental Health Services Into Maternal and Infant Care Can Help Low-Income Families – Rewire

Many reasons to say Thank You

happy holidays from the PMHP

In our last newsletter of the year we’ve thanked you, our supporters, families and friends who believed in the work we do and supported us throughout 2016.

With your donation of expertise and money we were able to care for mothers in need and engage with those providing health and social support for them.

Enjoy this festive season and we are looking forward to an even more exciting 2017 with you!

In this newsletter we are highlighting some of the achievements of the previous two months. Happy reading.

perinatalmentalhealth_news

Impact of maternal depression and anxiety on child development

A number of new studies have found that stress, depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy can have long lasting effects on the development of your child.

We have translated some of those findings into an Issue Brief and added some of our recommendations for evidence based interventions for parents.

maternal mental health care

This Issue Brief outlines not only the risk factors for parents, but also encourages the building of resilience to prevent or lessen the negative impacts for children.

caring for the future

“Caring for mothers and fathers – is caring for the future”

Call for Applications: 2017 Academic Year

Exciting news – the MPhil in Infant Mental Health is now up and ready to go.

Please see the advert below for more details.

Mphil Infant Mental Health

Mission impossible? Replacing abuse with empathy

“Cindy* neglected her four children to such an extent that social workers removed the youngest two, both toddlers.

But after Nadia Drotsche, a social worker dealing with Cindy, attended a course on empathic training, she realised that Cindy might be depressed rather than an uncaring and lazy parent.”

abuse during childbirth
Photo: Irin News

Abused in labour, depressed after giving birth – pregnancy can be a nightmare for women. But an inexpensive intervention by the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) is trying to change this by teaching caregivers to listen, empathise, and identify depression.

Read more in this article by Kerry Cullinan in the Daily Maverick

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