Mental health has been a serious concern during the ongoing pandemic and new research suggests that postnatal depression has increased by three times. The study, conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada and quoted in a report by The Independent, reveals that there has been a staggering 41 per cent increase from 15 per cent in women suffering from maternal depression. The report also states that there has also been a rise from 29 per cent to 72 per cent in women who are experiencing mild to high anxiety symptoms.
In order to arrive at this conclusion, the study examined 900 women. Among them 520 were pregnant and 380 had become mothers in the last year, and each participant was asked about their depression and anxiety symptoms before and during the pandemic.
“The social and physical isolation measures that are critically needed to reduce the spread of the virus are taking a toll on the physical and mental health of many of us. We know that experiencing depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period can have detrimental effects on the mental and physical health of both mother and baby that can persist for years,” Dr Margie Davenport, co-author of the study said.
“We know that parents who have a diagnosis are particularly vulnerable during this time as their ‘normal coping mechanisms’ day to day are not able to take place. Disturbance of routine, anxiety around the political and economical state have also contributed to parents with or without a diagnosis of perinatal mental illness that can create heightened anxiety and stress which can also magnify depression and low mood,” Annie Belasco, head of charity at the PANDAS Foundation, the organisation that assists people struggling with postnatal depression.