Are Moms With Mental Health Issues Bad Parents? Expert Weigh In On Why They Need Extra Help

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 06, 04:00 am
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Moms with mental health issues, such as postpartum depression or anxiety, need support so their children do not suffer.
(Photo : Mike Simons/Getty Images)

Moms dealing with mental health issues need the extra help. Their struggles are magnified than an average parent and their mental state might trigger maternal suicide.

University of Melbourne Professor Anne Buist, however, said having mental health issues doesn't automatically make mothers bad parents. Reports said this is one of the stigmas surrounding mental illness that needs to change.

"There's a fear of the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental illness, but bigger than that is the stigma of being seen as a bad parent," Buist said, as per ABC Net. "A lot of people think that it's the same thing and it's absolutely not."

Postpartum depression or anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues among moms and it can affect their parenting skills. The condition can be debilitating in some cases. It can take a mom's focus away from her kids.

Moms with mental health issues who are prescribed medications for depression or anxiety won't likely fare better as well, depending on the medicine's effects as some are sedatives. Buist said, ideally, women planning to get pregnant who have a history of mental illness, should undergo one-on-one sessions with professional therapists, "so that they will be at the optimal physical and mental health," the expert said.

Early intervention among moms suffering from postpartum depression is crucial. Donna Kreuzer of Texas lost her daughter because she had a postpartum illness. She wasn't able to get the help she needed.

Kreuzer testified before the Texas House Committee on Public Health in a bid to push screenings and postpartum treatment for moms, as well as baby visits and pediatrician check-ups the kids. "Postpartum depression is not just about being overwhelmed or having a little anxiety. It is identified as one of the top killers of women [in this state]," she said, per San Antonio Express.

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