Recognising when you need help
There are some general indicators that it is time to seek professional help in the perinatal period:
- If you notice low mood, heightened anxiety or both and these feelings have lasted a couple of weeks without shifting and are starting to significantly affect your daily life. The effects may include but are not limited to: a lower capacity or desire to care for yourself or feeling detached from your baby, changes in your sleep or appetite, withdrawal from other people. More detailed information on signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression can be found here.
- Significant changes in a relationship that present a safety risk to a parent or baby, including domestic violence.
- If a new parent has a sudden change in mood and/or starts to think about suicide and/or self-harm.
- If you begin to have thoughts about hurting the baby out of frustration, desperation or overwhelm.
- Thoughts or memories about a new parent’s own childhood that suddenly become overwhelming and pre-occupying.
It is never too soon to ask for help. Mental health struggles range from mild, moderate to severe.
Even if you think your experience is mild, it can still be beneficial to receive help early rather than waiting it out to see if things get better. Perinatal mental health professionals are there to support new parents and their families across many circumstances and help them adjust to parenthood.
Date of Last Review: September 2021