Keeping Mum: More than half of pre or postnatal mums felt suicidal, ITV News survey finds

The survey investigated experiences with pre and postnatal depression. Credit: ITV News

An ITV News survey in conjunction with the charity PANDAS, who provide help and support for parents suffering with perinatal mental illnesses, has found more than half of parents have had suicidal thoughts.

Over a thousand women took part in the survey, which also found:

A large majority of parents said more information and professional support would help. Credit: PA

What is perinatal mental illness?

  • It refers to a mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year after birth.

  • Many parents experience postnatal depression (PND) after having a baby.

Some women can experience mental health problems during their pregnancy. Credit: PA
  • Symptoms include: feeling of sadness, difficulty bonding with your baby, fatigue, panicked thoughts, a lack of interest or pleasure, problems concentrating and making decisions

  • PND can also affect fathers and partners, although it is less common

Find more NHS information on both pre and postnatal depression

  • A mother's story

For six years, Jessica Addicott struggled to bond with her eldest son.

Negative feelings towards her child had emerged during Jessica's pregnancy and intensified when she found out she was expecting a boy.

Jessica Addicott shortly after the birth of her first child. Credit: Jessica Addicott

"I thought if it's a girl then I could possibly savour some sort of relationship and have a mother and daughter relationship, " Jessica told ITV News.

"But then I found out it was a boy and it made me feel a lot worse,"

But after Jessica gave birth, she developed post natal depression and became increasingly unwell.

Jessica eventually began to felt suicidal: "I didn’t want to run away until it was quite down the line. That’s when I started to feel the suicidal thoughts came in."

She has since bonded with eldest son and believes it is now time to break down the hidden pain of giving birth.

Jessica has now established a strong bond with her son. Credit: Jessica Addicott

Dr Giles Berrisford, the Associate National Clinical Director for Perinatal Mental Health, said:

"Unfortunately we know that for a lot of women that transition into motherhood can be an incredibly stressful time.

"We know that a lot of women at that time will suffer from suicidal ideas and I think it reinforces the fact that they ought to be receiving help at that point."

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