Tuesday, October 25, 2016

State health department launches campaign to raise awareness and provide help for pregnancy-related depression

Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety are the most common complications of pregnancy, affecting about one in seven women nationally. Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched an educational campaign to help women recognize the symptoms and get help.

“Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety often go unreported and untreated,” said Dr. Tista Ghosh, deputy chief medical officer for the state health department. “We want new mothers to realize they are not alone and help is available.”

The health department developed a pilot public awareness campaign in Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver and Larimer counties that will be expanded in 2017. The campaign raises public awareness about the symptoms, health consequences and treatment of pregnancy-related depression and anxiety through social media, community partners and health care providers. It includes Colorado-specific resources for new and expectant mothers, as well as referrals to Postpartum Support International coordinators for free help in both English and Spanish at 1-800-944-4773.

Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety can occur any time during pregnancy through the baby’s first birthday. It may also happen after a miscarriage, pregnancy loss or after adopting a baby. Many women feel uncomfortable talking about their symptoms with family, friends or health care providers. Symptoms differ for everyone and might include the following:

• Feelings of anger or irritability
• Lack of interest in the baby
• Loss of appetite and trouble sleeping
• Crying and sadness
• Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness

More than just the “baby blues,” pregnancy-related depression and anxiety are serious conditions that affect a woman’s physical and mental health. But they are treatable through self-care, social support and counseling.

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