Post-natal depression – support from Parentline

Parentline is the only national helpline, that offers support to new mothers suffering with the baby blues or postnatal depression, in confidence and over the phone. This means that a new mother does not have to get organised to leave the comfort of her own home if she needs support. Very often a depressed mother finds it very difficult to get dressed not to mind to leave her own house. Parentline offers a support service in her own home.

According to HSE figures about four out of five women get some form of baby blues and between 10% and 15% go on to develop PND. This is a vast number of new mothers looking for help considering there are approximately 62,000 births in Ireland each year.


Pregnancy and giving birth is a very emotional experience and some deal with it better than others. There can be all sorts of reasons for developing post-natal depression from a history of depression to a traumatic or difficult birth, having a premature or unwell baby or simply the whole change in lifestyle that it brings with the sudden responsibility of a new baby, the constant demands of this little person, sleep deprivation and a certain amount of lost freedom. For some they might feel they are not living up to the media and social media image they had of perfect, glowing mother as they struggle to cope.

The important thing is to ask for help. The sooner you ask, the sooner you will feel better. Any new mother who is having difficulties or experiencing any symptoms of baby blues or post natal depression should seek help early, particularly as PND can last for three months or more and this could be considerably longer if it is not treated.

Just some of the broad range of symptoms to look out for include difficulty enjoying your new baby or spending time with people, crying easily, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, lack of concentration, feeling inadequate, obsessive behaviour, getting agitated easily and loss of appetite. But this is not a finite list.

Along with asking for help, it is extremely important to take care of yourself at this time by eating well, getting some rest where you can, trying to get some exercise and being open about your feelings and worries. It’s also good if you can do something you enjoy doing for yourself every day, if at all possible.

Asking for help can direct you to where you need to go for possible further support, whether this is a support group, your public health nurse, your GP or a professional counsellor.

Remember the sooner you ask for help, the sooner you will feel better. Seek help early.

All Calls Welcome

Parentline welcomes calls about any parenting issue – a problem which seems trivial at an early stage can easily develop into a more serious issue for both parent and child if unaddressed.

Call 1890 927277

Parentline’s lines are open Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 9. 30 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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