Approximately one in seven new mothers in New Zealand experience postnatal depression. It can affect women who have never experienced mental distress before, as well as their partners. It carries an undeserved stigma that can harm the mother’s wellbeing and speed of recovery, as well as affecting the family as a whole.
An investigative 60 Minutes story, funded through the 2014 Mental Health Foundation Media Grant, examined postnatal depression in New Zealand and highlighted some of the myths. One myth is that a woman can ‘snap out of it’, which is simply not true. Many women battle with postnatal depression and don’t know where to turn.
Over the last year, the Mental Health Foundation has sent out almost 43,000 brochures to midwives to pass on to expectant mothers, along with other forms of information.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (5 - 11 October) and the theme is GIVE – give your time, your words, your presence.Kiwis are one of the highest givers of their time through volunteering and helping others in the OECD. And giving your time, your words or your presence can have a big impact.
“As well as volunteering, just small every day acts of giving can have a big impact, such as letting someone else in front of you in line at the supermarket, smiling at strangers, complimenting a friend," says Mental Health Foundation acting chief executive, Hugh Norriss. "When we give we feel happier, feel more positive about life and other people, and are more likely to trust and cooperate with others,” Mr Norriss says.
“Not only that, but when you give you inspire others to behave generously – they pay it forward. It’s a really generous way to look after yourself!”
Published 9 October, 2017