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Essential Mental Health Resources for Pregnancy and Beyond

Mental Health Resources For Pregnancy

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues and promoting well-being. Mental health is essential to overall health, and individuals are encouraged to learn more about their mental health.

Mental Health Impacts Our Lives

Mental health is fundamental to our overall well-being and profoundly influences how we think, feel, and behave daily. It plays a critical role in our capacity to handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Prioritizing mental health is essential for personal fulfillment, maintaining relationships, and contributing effectively at work and within the community.

Good mental health enhances resilience, fosters emotional regulation, and supports cognitive function, empowering individuals to pursue a fulfilling life and cope with challenges.

Signs that might indicate someone is struggling with their mental health:

  • Persistent Sadness or Irritability: Feeling down, sad, or irritable most of the time or for extended periods
  • Loss of Interest: A lack of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in Appetite or Weight: Significant weight loss or gain, or changes in appetite
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired and lacking energy
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks or making decisions.
  • Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: Harsh criticism of oneself or feeling disproportionately guilty
  • Anxiety: Persistent worries, nervousness, or feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Physical Symptoms: Experiencing unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, or stomach pain
  • Withdrawal: Avoiding social interactions and activities or isolating oneself
  • Mood Swings: Experiencing significant mood swings affecting daily life
  • Thoughts of Harm: Thinking about harming oneself or others or having suicidal thoughts

If someone is experiencing these symptoms, it may be helpful to find a therapist at Vail Health Behavioral Health or visit the Get Help Now page for immediate help.

Pregnancy and Mental Health 

Week three of Mental Health Awareness Month (May 12-18) focuses on recognizing the importance of maternal mental health among pregnant and postpartum people. Pregnancy and childbirth are transformative experiences that evoke a wide range of emotions in expectant and new parents. It’s completely normal to feel a mix of joy and more challenging emotions. Many experience intense feelings of being overwhelmed, scared, fatigued, worried, and even inadequate during this time.

Up to one in five women deal with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues during and after pregnancy. These issues are common and treatable, affecting individuals across all cultures, ages, genders, races, and income levels.

While many people find that these feelings resolve on their own over time, others may experience more severe emotions and require professional support. It’s important to remember that help is available and that you are not alone. Seeking help is vital to your and your baby’s health and well-being.

Neglecting maternal health issues can lead to severe consequences, including pregnancy-related deaths and unintentional harm to both the mother and baby. Prioritizing self-care and asking for help when needed are crucial steps in maintaining good mental health throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Postpartum Depression: You Are Not Alone

The “baby blues” are common for new moms, but postpartum depression (PPD) is more severe and longer-lasting. Symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, trouble bonding with the baby, appetite, and sleep issues, and more.

PPD impacts up to 15% of women after delivery. While treatable with therapy, medication, or both, too many cases go undiagnosed and untreated. Reaching out for help is a vital first step.

Resources for Mental Health After Pregnancy

No mom should have to struggle alone. Mental health resources for new mothers include: 

  • Nurses, doctors, midwives: Don’t hesitate to discuss emotional difficulties with your healthcare providers. They can screen you, provide referrals, and support your well-being.
  • Mental health hotlines: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Postpartum Support International Hotline (1-800-944-4773) offer 24/7 help.
  • Online support groups: Connecting with others experiencing similar challenges can provide invaluable support. Postpartum Support International offers online groups. Vail Health and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s Mountain Strong program offers a bilingual support group for moms and pregnant women
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)​: NICHD, a component of the National Institutes of Health and the lead federal agency for research on mental health disorders, is dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing mental illnesses through basic and clinical research on the brain and behavior.
  • Therapy: Find a licensed therapist who specializes in perinatal mental health. Cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, and other therapy methods can be very effective. Local therapists are accessible through Vail Health Behavioral Health’s Therapist Finder.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Month is a crucial period for highlighting the importance of mental health in special populations, including pregnant women and new mothers. By providing resources and promoting awareness, we can help ensure that mental health support is accessible and effective for everyone in need.

If you or a loved one experiences signs of a mental health struggle, visit Vail Health Behavioral Health’s Get Help Now page or one of the other resources listed above. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and it’s important to prioritize your mental health for both your and your family’s well-being.

This article was reviewed by Suzanne Torris, MS, RN, FNP.

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