Each year a surprising number of women in the UK take their lives, and many more try, as a result of untreated or inappropriately treated postnatal mental illness.
It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of maternal deaths caused by suicide since, in many cases, records mention depression, bi-polar or psychosis without reference to a postnatal mental illness. Other cases never become public knowledge.
Every year we know that 70,000 women are diagnosed with postnatal depression. Given the issues related to the recording of postnatal cases, the real figure is likely to be higher.
Each and every day the long-term development of thousands of children is compromised as a result of women denied access to appropriate specialised treatment.
Postnatal Illness is not new. Louis Victor Marcé wrote a detailed account of women he worked with over 150 years ago. Even 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates was writing about women experiencing mental illness after giving birth. More recently Queen Victoria wrote to her daughter about her own (and her daughter's) likely struggles.
Given the right treatment, postnatal mental illness is curable. Not all women, their partners, policy makers or medical professionals know this. It's time to speak out on this issue, to ensure every woman and family gets their right to basic healthcare met, and that we put a stop to the needless and tragic loss of life and human potential.
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