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Health Visiting teams are available across Dorset for all new parents who may be struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and limited support from wider family members.
That is the message from Dorset HealthCare ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), to help people affected by low mood, anxiety or depression which can follow the birth of a child.
Post-natal depression is a common problem, affecting more than one in 10 women within a year of giving birth. Depression can also affect women during pregnancy and it can also affect fathers and partners.
It is important for new parents who think they might be depressed after having a baby to remember that they are not alone, and to ask for help as soon as possible. Asking for help is okay and, with the right support, most families make a full recovery.
Support is still available during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and people are urged to contact their Midwife, Health Visitor or GP if they are struggling.
Shirley Shailer, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Clinical Lead at Dorset HealthCare, said:
“Pregnancy, becoming a parent and caring for a new baby is a really exciting and wonderful time, but it can also be a difficult time, with lots of changes and new challenges. As parents adjust to these changes, they will often enjoy the help from friends and family, along with support from the midwife, GP and Health Visitor.
“However, in recent weeks it has not been possible for new parents to have contact with family and friends in the same way. There have also been changes to how health appointments are offered and health professionals are now wearing face masks and other protective gear. Understandably, more parents are suffering with anxiety and are feeling isolated.
“I would encourage all parents to talk to their Health Visitor about how they feel – Health Visitors are interested in the emotional health of the whole family, as well as the practical aspects of becoming a parent. We are still here and we want to support you, so if you think you may be suffering with mental health problems, don’t delay – please call us.”
Dorset HealthCare’s Health Visiting teams are available by phone 9am – 4pm every day. You will be linked to your own health visitor if possible. For contact details of your local team, click here.
A host of other useful information to help families through the COVID-19 pandemic is also available on the website.
If you require urgent mental health support call Connection, a 24-hour helpline, on 0300 123 5440.