By Therese Jastrzebski
A hotline for mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression and their families has been launched by the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.
The hotline known as the “warm line,” was launched in response to the tragedy that occurred in late July, when Lisa Gibson, a mother suffering from postpartum depression, took her own life and those of her two children.
Cindy-Lee Lewis, a professor of nursing and medicine at the University of Toronto, said postpartum depression is a depressive episode that occurs within the first year after the birth of a baby and about 13% of mothers will experience it.
Tara Brousseau, executive director at the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, said the goal of the hotline is to combat the isolation that comes with postpartum depression.
“We wanted to be able to have a warm inviting and supportive voice they can connect to and not every new mom can get out,” she said.
The symptoms of postpartum depression can include feeling overwhelmed, feeling hopeless, feeling irritable and angry about having a new baby, Brousseau told Humber News.
“You might be experiencing problems because your at home with the baby, it’s sadness, it’s not being able to cope, it’s not being sure of who or what you are anymore.”
The hotline will provide callers with support and links and the person on the other line might be able to suggest paths and avenues that the caller can take in order to get help.
Women suffering from postpartum depression can feel stigmatized and are afraid to come forward and say they need help after giving birth, said Brousseau.
“We have to change that, we have to make sure that women feel very very safe in being able to say, you know what I’m not coping, can I get some help please.”
The association is still waiting to see how many calls the hotline will get, but so far, the reaction from the community has been very positive, Brousseau said.
If a women isn’t sure whether or not she’s suffering from postpartum depression, she can go online and complete the Edinburgh Post-Natal Depression Scale.
Lewis told Humber News if someone scores more then 9 on the scale, it’s an indication that she might be suffering from postpartum depression.
Women in Toronto who are seeking help can call the intake line for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program through Toronto Public Health for guidance on how they can get help.