Time to end the shame around perinatal depression - advocates

An advocacy group says it's time to reduce the shame around perinatal depression.

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa (PADA) says more than 75 percent of women affected by a perinatal disorder do not get help.

The phrase "perinatal" refers to the period between around 20 weeks of gestation and around four weeks after birth.

PADA will hold a forum on perinatal depression in Wellington Hospital on Wednesday to mark World Maternal Mental Health Day.

Spokesperson Melanie Byrne told Newshub women are often told they should be feeling the opposite of how they do feel.

"Everyone tells them 'oh you should be so happy' and 'you're so blessed' and 'you should be so grateful', but you're struggling.

"It should be okay for you to tell someone and not have to feel embarrassed or ashamed and so I think that needs to be change."

Byrne said that shame can often put perinatal depression sufferers off asking for help.

"Most women soldier on through undiagnosed, unfortunately there are many women that take their lives either during pregnancy or after the baby's been born."

She wants more people to be able to access help, rather than waiting until things are desperate.

"It definitely needs more attention and more recognition and things put in place so that there's not always the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

"We sort of want to make women feel that they don't need to be ashamed."