Healthy Start. Healthy Future.
It’s time Canada had a national strategy to support perinatal mental health. Download The Report
This has been published as a research letter in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada
Though the Life With A Baby peer network spans the country, few of us have a view into precisely what supports are available to expecting and new parents as they navigate the winding journey of preparing for and raising a family. Our founder, Claire Zlobin, has long been an advocate for universal perinatal mental health screening and implementing a national perinatal mental health strategy to act as the foundation for provinces to create the infrastructure and pathways needed to provide care. We wanted to find out how Canada is doing to provide adequate support for perinatal mental health challenges, so we commissioned an original research report to determine: Is Canada doing enough to support perinatal mental health?.
We found that out of all 13 provinces and territories, only 6 have a provincial perinatal mental health strategy in place.
First, we acknowledge that in Canada, we enjoy a privileged healthcare system. Canada is a country long focused on ensuring its citizens have access to the primary medical care we believe should be afforded to all. However, even within a beautiful system, there is room for improvement, innovation and growth.
Before answering whether Canada is doing enough as a whole, we first needed to know what was already in place. Our research methodology hinged on the question: What infrastructure for perinatal mental health screening is currently in place in each province or territory in Canada?.
Across the country, notable gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care exist in varying degrees. To answer whether Canada is doing enough to support perinatal mental health, in short, no. Resources are not equally accessible, distributed or even available.
Based on the monumental research, analysis and experience of hospital systems, researchers, practitioners, countless organizations, groups and the like, we believe a top-down, bottom-up strategic approach is necessary to improve maternal mental support across Canada. National attention and action, coupled with grassroots initiatives advanced by organizations, individuals, teams and groups, will mean a tangible progression in the right direction.
Our sincere hope is that this report acts as a catalyst for all of us to work together to advocate for and improve maternal mental health support in Canada.
Here’s how you can help!
The first step is raising awareness of the need for universal and better perinatal mental health supports! Share the below cards on your social media channels using hashtag #healthy start healthy future.
LWAB Advocacy Campaign Copy
Card Copy: Did You Know? Only 6 provinces have a provincial strategy in place to support perinatal mental health.
General Post Copy: A research study conducted by the Life With A Baby Foundation found that in the majority of provinces and territories, the onus still lies with mothers to seek help for their own perinatal mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. It’s time we do better. #healthystarthealthyfuture
Card Copy: If mom’s not ok, baby’s not ok. The mental health of new parents is a critical factor in healthy early child development. It’s time we gave perinatal mental health its due attention.
Post Copy: Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis, a foremost researcher on maternal mental health, has a simple maxim: “Healthy babies start with healthy parents.” The mental health of new parents is an essential factor in healthy early child development. It’s time we gave perinatal mental health its due attention. #healthystarthealthyfuture
Card Copy: Did You Know? Access to perinatal mental health support, treatment and referral pathways across Canada is unequal and inequitable.
Post Copy: Canada’s healthcare system is pretty awesome. But, even within a beautiful system, there is room for improvement, innovation and growth. Our healthcare system resources are not equally accessible, distributed or even available. Standard care for perinatal mental health in one province may be entirely unavailable in the next. It’s time we do better. #HealthyStartHealthyFuture
Card Copy: The ripple effects of mental health challenges are felt by us all.It’s time for a national strategy to make perinatal mental health a priority.
Post Copy: We believe a top-down, bottom-up strategic approach is necessary to improve maternal mental support across Canada. National attention and action, coupled with coordinated grassroots initiatives by organizations, healthcare professionals, advocates, hospital systems and groups, will mean tangible progress in making perinatal mental health a priority. Let’s go. #healthystarthealthyfuture
Card Copy: Did you know? 1 in 5 women will experience a perinatal mood & anxiety disorder such as depression starting as early as pregnancy.
Post Copy: Anxiety, depression, OCD, psychosis and suicidal tendencies are all Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. These can start as early as pregnancy and last for up to a year post-delivery or loss. In many provinces, universal screening for these disorders isn’t standard - even though screening is a proven way to spot these challenges before they become severe. An awareness of these disorders is a crucial step in prevention. It’s time Canada made perinatal mental health a priority. #healthystarthealthyfuture
Card Copy: Did you know? 1 in 10 men will experience depression or anxiety as a new parent.
Post Copy: 1 in 10 men will suffer, often in silence, from depression or anxiety as a new parent. An awareness of the possibility of these challenges, as well as eradicating stigma, is a crucial step in prevention and support for dads. It’s time Canada made perinatal mental health a priority. healthystarthealthyfuture
It’s time perinatal mental health got its due attention #healthystarthealthyfuture Download The Report