Depression is a mental illness which causes low mood for long periods of time. It is the most common mental illness and in 2014 it was reported that almost 20% of over 16s suffered from depression. Low mood becomes depression when it lasts for more than a few weeks or if your symptoms regularly reappear.
Depression is much more severe than grief or sadness although these emotions can trigger it.
Mild depression can cause low mood but won't stop you continuing to live your life. Rather it will make daily life hard and can cause your daily tasks to feel harder. Severe depression is life-threatening and can cause suicidal thoughts.
There are some specific types of depression which can pop up throughout our lives such as:
1. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression which can arise during certain seasons of the year. The most common season which affects people with SAD is winter.
2. Dysthymia is mild depression which lasts for 2 or more years. This is also called chronic depression.
3. Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy and post natal depression occurs after pregnancy.
Around 1 in 5 women will suffer from a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth. This could be a recurring mental health issue or a new one. The term for mental health issues experienced through pregnancy is perinatal mental health issues.
Even though quite a lot of women experience this issue it can still be very hard to talk about. Typical feelings surrounding becoming a new parent may be:
If you suffer from perinatal mental health problems then you may experience thoughts about harming yourself or your baby. This can be very scary for a new mother and this may make you feel that you are out of control. It is important to realise that these thoughts do not mean that you will harm yourself or your baby.
Speak to your partner, family, friends or medical professionals if you are worried about your mental health. Having a support system in place will help you to deal with your mental health issues and ensure that you and your baby are being cared for.
No one is sure what causes these perinatal mental health problems but it could be one or a mixture of the following: