GOVERNOR QUINN PROCLAIMS MAY 2009 POSTPARTUM MOOD DISORDERS AWARENESS MONTH IN ILLINOIS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2009
Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair: 847 791 -7722, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago, Illinois — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is proclaiming May 2009 Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month in order to raise awareness of the common illness experienced by moms and moms-to-be.
“I am proud to declare May 2009 as Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month in Illinois. By increasing public awareness of these disorders, we can identify women who will benefit from treatment, saving them from unnecessary distress and suffering,” said Governor Quinn.
Here in Illinois, the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance (PPD IL) works to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of maternal mental health issues throughout the state. PPD IL offers a helpline (847-205-4455) and website (www.PPDil.org) for women and their families so they can learn more about pregnancy & postpartum mood disorders and access local resources such as support groups and trained healthcare providers.
“We want women to realize that they are not alone, they are not to blame and with help, you can be well again”. Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair PPD IL Alliance.
The PPD IL Alliance is choosing May, as it is home to Mother’s Day, to educate women and their families and friends about the nature of this illness. Approximately 15 – 20% of pregnant women and 15% of new mothers experience major or minor depression in the first year after giving birth. Symptoms differ for everyone but may include:
• Feelings of sadness, fear, anger and guilt
• Appetite & Sleep Disturbance
• Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
• Lack of interest in the baby
• Many worries and panic attacks
• Possible thoughts of harming the baby or oneself
“In this day and age, I think it’s deplorable that so many women still have to suffer in shame and silence with a disorder that, when identified and treated early, does not have to be an impediment to a woman and her family’s ability to enjoy the birth of a child,” said U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) who recently re-introduced H.R. 20, the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act of 2009. “I lend my voice and full support of the work of the PPD IL Alliance and other groups throughout our state and nation who are as committed as I am to working to ensure that all new mothers get the support they need to ensure that this special time of their lives is a safe, healthy and happy one.”
Symptoms of depression and anxiety occur in up to 20% of expectant and new moms, making these the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting nearly 1 million women every year in the United States alone. These emotional disorders cover a wide spectrum, including pregnancy depression and anxiety, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum psychosis. Yet despite their prevalence, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are under-detected by health care professionals and many women go without treatment.
Vanessa, a survivor of PPD describes her experience:
I was diagnosed with post partum depression 6 weeks after the birth of my son. I was sleep deprived, anxious, short tempered with my family, and plagued by horrible intrusive thoughts of my infant son falling over the balcony, or falling down the stairs. I also couldn’t look at knives and had to hide them away. I was so horrified by the vivid pictures of this in my head. As a result of these thoughts I could barely eat and was always nervous and anxious.
I knew this was not how it was supposed to be since I already had a 5 year old daughter and never suffered from these symptoms after her birth. I was afraid to be with my children alone so decided to stay with my mom for a few weeks. With medication and talk therapy I began my way to recovery. My saving grace was an online support group. I was able to read the feelings of others suffering and post my own. I felt an instant bond and was so thankful. I made a promise to myself and God that if I got through this horrible illness, I would help others. I was able to come off my antidepressant medication after 9 months and I became a moderator for PPDsupportpage.com and a telephone helpline volunteer for the PPD IL Alliance. My son is now 4 years old and I feel that time in my life was a blur. I make sure I spread the word about PPD and how common it really is. I feel that this illness was dealt to me for a positive reason. I am able to touch others that suffer and tell them that it isn’t a life sentence. PPD can be treated and cured.
PPD IL Alliance is the Illinois subsidiary of Postpartum Support International, the world’s largest non-profit organization supporting women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
For more information about pregnancy & postpartum mood disorders & PPMD Awareness month Contact: Dr. Sarah Allen, Chair IL PPD Alliance
847 791 -7722