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National Mental Health and Child Health Groups Partner for Mother’s Day

PRESS RELEASE
National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)
4401 Ford Avenue
Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22302
MEDIA CONTACT:
Arlene Remick, aremick@hmhb.org or 703-837-4792

Moms Learn About Postpartum Depression from Each Other Through New Online Program, Real Lives

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 11, 2007) — To help new mothers better understand postpartum disorders, Mental Health America and the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition have teamed up this Mother’s Day, May 13, to encourage mothers who have struggled with postpartum depression to share their stories through the soon-to-be launched Mental Health America program, Real Lives. Mothers can help new moms understand and manage postpartum depression at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/action/share-your-story.

“For most new mothers, a child’s birth is a happy and joyous occasion, but for some women it brings about a different kind of experience,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO, Mental Health America. “By working together as an online community through Real Lives, mothers can put a voice to a pervasive mental health condition affecting millions of women – postpartum depression.”

Postpartum disorders affect millions of women each year:

  • Approximately 10 to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include specific fears such as excessive preoccupation with the child’s health or intrusive thoughts of harming the baby.
  • 80 percent of new mothers experience mood swings often called “the baby blues.” These mood swings are a result of high hormonal fluctuations that occur during and immediately after childbirth.
  • Up to one-tenth of 1 percent of new mothers develop postpartum psychosis, marked by symptoms similar to those of general psychotic reactions such as delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (false perceptions).

“Such numbers make raising awareness of postpartum disorders this Mother’s Day especially important,” said Judy Meehan, executive director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies. “We hope that by sharing stories through Real Lives, women will learn to recognize when they experience postpartum depression, and that they will learn from one another that there’s no shame in postpartum depression.”

Real Lives is a one-of-a-kind online program where people struggling with mental health problems can break the silence and share their stories. By speaking out, these individuals help give a voice to the more than 58 million Americans living with mental health problems. Stories will help end the stigma that keeps people from getting care and perpetuates misunderstanding about those affected by mental disorders.

Mental Health America is the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation – everyday and in times of crisis. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net.