May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s designed to raise awareness of the struggles that mothers frequently experience, particularly during pregnancy and the first year of motherhood. So today we’re breaking down the issues affecting local moms in NC.
While moms in NC fare a bit better than the average 1 in 5 mothers who experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety during or after childbirth, 11.2–12.1% of moms in 2020 have still reported depressive symptoms following childbirth. Moreover, the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance ranks mental health conditions — including postpartum depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive, and post traumatic stress disorder — among the leading complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
In order to provide support for our local moms, we spoke with Meghan Coltrane, an Asheville therapist who specializes in perinatal mood disorders, for tips on how to best support new moms who are struggling with mental health problems. Here’s what she recommends:
- Do physical things to help, like chores or making or bringing food
- Offer encouragement
- Listen without judgement
Treatment, which can include:
- Counseling — find a list of therapists in WNC here
- Support groups, like those through Homegrown Families
Want to get involved locally? Sign up to participate in Climb Out of the Darkness Asheville on Sat., June 26 at 10 a.m. The world’s largest fundraising + awareness event for maternal mental health. Typically it’s a community walk, but due to the pandemic, it will be virtual this year.