Support lacking for depressed mums

Stuff 21 October 2015
Postnatal depression is going undiagnosed at an alarming rate, leaving new mums missing out on support, a Palmerston North advocate says.
Mothers Matter research has found 59 per cent of new mothers had experienced a depressive episode, which could put them at risk, and 72 per cent were not assessed at all by their midwives, founder Kristina Paterson said. One hundred new mothers were surveyed for postnatal depression (PND).
She is calling for more support for mothers and mandatory testing for postnatal depression.
Sixty-three per cent of those mothers surveyed experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety, either during pregnancy or one week after giving birth. Only 19 per cent were diagnosed during those stages.
Part of the problem was the level of support from district health boards was inconsistent, she said
“What we’ve surveyed has really shown some significant gaps. We’re getting mothers coming through who are saying … ‘my GP reckons I had postnatal depression last time’, and they already have a 3 or 4 year old.”
Paterson said she herself was diagnosed with PND 18 months after giving birth.

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