Dr Martine Walker provides an overview of the steps in getting help when you think you may be suffering from postnatal depression. She thinks that making the first step on your road to recovery is often the hardest for a new mum. The realisation that things are not OK can take some time to come to terms with but Martine’s experience is that they are usually open to the idea and are pleased to have someone suggest they need help and open the discussion.
There are lots of great support agencies and places where women can seek the help they need. A great starting place is with your local doctor or Early Childhood Health Nurse. Sheryl Sidery, midwife, explains that there are very good screening processes in place where new mums are asked really quite personal questions to help get an understanding of the level of risk that the mum may be at.
Once postnatal depression has been recognised there are a few ways of treating the illness. Martine says that drugs may be used as part of the treatment and are very effective, and while they will not solve the problem, they are a great tool in allowing a mum to reach a point where the other therapies can help them. The recent changes to legislation mean that there is now a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment. This means more mums can access counselling services which are the real answer for a mum who is suffering PND.
The key message from today’s discussion is to ask for help without any shame, there are people all around you to help.