KAWARTHA LAKES-The number of local women who suffer from anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum depression is nearly double the percentage reported for Ontario according to the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit. (HKPR)
It’s unclear why the numbers are higher locally but officials say changes in mood are very common, however, often go undetected according to HKPR. The Perinatal Mental Health Awareness campaign features a multi-faceted approach that includes resources and an outreach package shared with local healthcare providers. The campaign promotes the integration of the Care Pathway for the Management of Perinatal Mental Health (Care Pathway) developed by The Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health’s (PCMCH), by asking healthcare providers to adopt the Care Pathway’s 5-Stepped Approach into new and expecting parents’ appointments.
“Perinatal mental health concerns are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Research shows that 80% of parents experience changes in mood after birth and locally, the percentage of pregnant individuals with anxiety or with a history of postpartum depression is nearly double the percentage reported for Ontario,” said Tammy Thomson, Public Health Nurse for the HKPR District Health Unit. “The Perinatal Mental Health Awareness campaign’s goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding perinatal mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, and help families receive access to support services.”
The health unit launched the Perinatal Mental Health Awareness campaign today. It is designed to provide information and resources to assist pregnant and postpartum individuals and their families to identify and address mental health concerns during the perinatal period.
The HKPR District Health Unit uses the Care Pathway to provide one-on-one support for families through the Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) Program, the Healthy Families information and support line and the Healthy Families Feeding and Nutrition Support Program. The goal of these programs is to help parents better understand the signs and symptoms of perinatal mental health concerns and to connect families to the appropriate mental health supports.
“It is critical that new and expecting parents are screened and directed to supportive services. Mental health is especially important to support during this significant change in life,” said Dorothea Service, Manager of Healthy Families, for the HKPR District Health Unit. “We are bringing awareness to perinatal mental health and working with healthcare providers and community services to provide tools, education, resources, and support services so families do not feel alone in this journey.”
The HKPR District Health Unit encourages individuals to speak to their healthcare provider about their emotional well-being. HKPR District Health Unit’s perinatal mental health programs and services can be found by visiting hkpr.on.ca or by calling the Healthy Families Information and Support Line at 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5003.