One in seven pregnant or postpartum mothers all over the globe will experience depression, anxiety or another perinatal mood disorder. Whether they live in a palace or a walk-up, have five children or one, are alone or surrounded by family — no one is exempt.
The good news is that Postpartum Support International (PSI) is accessible from anywhere in the world. PSI is the leading maternal mental health organization, offering support to families and front-line providers, training, consultation, and resources. PSI makes sure mothers, fathers, and families can find exactly what and who they need, no matter where they live.
Countless viewers were affected by a recent interview by Oprah Winfrey which brought to light important realities about maternal mental health about which many listeners were in the dark.
Brought to light were the fact that:
- Everyone is vulnerable.
- Stigma is a serious barrier to care.
- Families who don’t understand or are embarrassed may discourage moms from getting help.
- Suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate.
In fact, suicide is a leading cause of death among postpartum mothers worldwide. But that outcome is preventable. Postpartum mental health struggles are completely treatable, as long as parents receive appropriate care and support. It is important not to gloss over mentions of suicide or to hide concerns that a loved one may be suicidal. Reaching out can prevent a crisis. PSI wants people to know they have somewhere to turn. There are suicide hotlines in every country.
Considering how common mental health struggles are in pregnancy and postpartum, why do so few reach out? The barriers to care are many. Stigmas around mental illness create shame. For mothers, painted by society as placid, beatific saints, admitting they are struggling is doubly hard. A culture of family bias can result in hiding behind closed doors and keeping a stiff upper lip.
Racism, discrimination, and healthcare disparities increase the vulnerability of and risk to people of color, immigrants, and people living in poverty, adding to obstacles that are already in place to keep women from the mental health and health care they need and deserve.
One of the vital missions of Postpartum Support International is to eliminate stigma and barriers to care and equalize the field to ensure access to maternal mental health care for all. In fact, PSI has state Chapters and Support Coordinators in every U.S. state and 65 countries worldwide. Not only that, PSI is virtual and can be reached directly, confidentially, and anonymously by phone, email, text or social media message from anywhere in the world. PSI’s network of global support means that parents can be connected with support and treatment no matter where they are from.
There are many reasons mothers and their families are afraid to reach out, don’t know what to do or who to call. Here is what everyone needs to know:
- You are not alone but share your experience with countless pregnant and postpartum parents around the world.
- Depression or anxiety can begin during pregnancy, or up to 12 months postpartum.
- You do not need a diagnosis to reach out for help.
- Symptoms can include depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness, trauma responses, hyper-vigilance, and, in rare cases, psychosis.
- It’s okay if you are not sure what you need. Reach out. PSI will know how to help.
- No matter how severe your symptoms are, they are temporary and treatable.
Please reach out for help whether you are a little worried, are in a crisis and not sure you can go on, and everything in between. No matter where you live in the world, contact Postpartum Support International to connect you with support and services. Text: in English 800-944-4773 or en Español 971-203-7773, phone (in both languages) 800-944-4773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also find PSI support via social media: @postpartumsupportinternational and on its website that has portals for accessing information and help: postpartum.net. The PSI coordinator in the U.K. can be reached directly at email@example.com.