Raising Awareness about Postpartum Depression
by Jody Kerzman
Becoming a mom is a life-changing experience. Many moms define it as the happiest day of their lives. But for other moms, it can be anything but happy.
Sara Kenney is a licensed psychologist with CHI St. Alexius Health. Dr. Kenney says anxiety and depression are the number one complication of pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, she says that as many as one in every seven moms will experience postpartum depression (PPD). One in five will have some sort of mental health problem, whether while pregnant or after giving birth. And, about ten percent of dads will struggle with postpartum depression as well.
“There is still a stigma about postpartum depression and about mental health in general,” says Dr. Kenney. “It’s getting better thanks I think in big part to celebrities talking about it. That helps. You hear all the time about celebrities getting help for postpartum depression. But I think people are afraid to hear they might be depressed. A lot of people don’t want to admit what they’re feeling because they are worried about what other people might think.”
Dr. Kenney says it’s important moms, as well as dads and other family members and friends, stop worrying about what others might think and educate themselves about postpartum depression. That begins with education and awareness.
In the Bismarck area, a walk is planned to help raise awareness. The Climb Out of the Darkness® walk will be held Saturday, June 18 at the North Dakota Capital Grounds. The walk begins at 1:00 pm. Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental health disorders, such as postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD, and psychosis. The walk is free, but Dr. Kenney says all donations will go to Post Partum Progress, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness, fighting stigma, and providing peer support and programming to women with maternal mental illness. To learn more about Postpartum Progress, visit www.postpartumprogress.com. And to register for the Climb out of the Darkness® walk or to make a donation, head to www.crowdrise.com/sarajohnsonkenney-cotd2016.
Be sure to pick up the July issue of Inspired Woman magazine – we’ll have more about postpartum depression, and one mom shares her scary fight with PPD and her road to recovery. We’ll also have more with Dr. Kenney and what she’s doing to raise awareness and to make sure all moms get the help they need.