Calls to screen mums for postnatal depression

Calls to screen mums for postnatal depression

Women are speaking out about postnatal depression to help more mums get the treatment they need.

A charity providing support for mothers under stress is concerned too many mums aren't being diagnosed early enough.

Grace Revell was diagnosed with postnatal depression when her daughter was six months old.

"I had said to my midwife that I wasn't coping," says Ms Revell. "When my daughter was about four months old I went to the GP and said I'm not coping, I'm crying every day."

She even came out in hives, but it was just put down to baby blues.

"Looking back I think I had it from day one," she says.

A recent survey of 100 mothers who've experienced postnatal depression found 63 percent experienced symptoms either during pregnancy or one week after giving birth - the perinatal stages - yet just 19 percent were diagnosed at the time.

Mothers' Helpers, which runs a recovery programme, is concerned that too many women are falling through the gaps.

"If we detect it early we can treat it early and that means a quicker recovery for that mother and better outcomes," says Mothers' Helpers founder Kristina Paterson.

Delayed diagnosis can lead to chronic depression, the woman's partner also becoming depressed and child attachment issues.

The current advice is for struggling mums to ask for help but Ms Paterson, who's been through it herself, says that's not good enough - she wants to see routine screening.

"The leading cause of maternal deaths is suicide, it's not diabetes, it's not pre-eclampsia, it's suicide and yet we're not screening for depression," she says.

Two years on, Ms Revell is getting better and is now enjoying life as a mum.

"If you'd asked me when my daughter was three or four months old I wouldn't even think that that was possible, but I really love it, and that's through getting help and being on medication," she says.

By speaking out, they hope more mums suffering in silence get the help they need.

Perinatal Awareness Week starts on October 31.

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