Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. This morning, I was slapped with this absolutely shocking statistic:
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the first year postpartum.
According to Postpartum Progress, a US based non-profit, as many as 1 in 7 women experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. The one that we most commonly talk about is Postpartum Depression, but there are many others including Pregnancy Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, Postpartum Panic Disorder, Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, & Postpartum Psychosis.
I found it difficult to find any Canadian statistics. I did come across this Globe & Mail article from 2013 that comments on the lack of statistical data collection and analyses specifically regarding maternal deaths that are tied to suicide.
There is definitely a stigma around the topic of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Every once in a while I hear someone still refer to it as the “Baby Blues”, a term I find dismissive – one that does not recognize the seriousness and legitimacy of this group of disorders.
Please be sure to seek support if you are suffering – reach out to your midwife, doctor, local support hotline. Your doula can help with collecting resources and contact information for you. You can also contact the Canadian Mental Health Association to find support in your area.
Some additional links in support of World Suicide Prevention Day: