Call for better support for new mums and dads- Nuala Murphy

Belfast Tech Company Moment Health Joins In Efforts To Support Mental Health Care After Birth

 

WITH a fifth of mothers experiencing antenatal or post-natal depression or anxieties Moment Health has launched a ‘Check Your Symptoms’ campaign to help support parents and their families and all who work with them.

 

The launch of the campaign coincides with a major report by NSPCC, the Royal College of Midwives, and Community Practitioners and Health Visitors that called for more support for new mums.

 

Chief Executive Officer of Moment Health, Nuala Murphy, said it is clear more needs to be done across the board to fund positive interventions.

 

“With up to 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers experiencing some form of depression or anxiety after the birth of their child it is clear that we need to support them,” she said.

 

“And, with almost a quarter of deaths between six weeks and one year after birth attributed to mental health related causes, the need for action should be apparent to all.

 

“When we launched our app last year it was in response to the urgent situation facing so many parents and their families. That it has been downloaded and used so many times is one way that support can be provided.”

 

More than 2,000 women experience mild to moderate depressive illness and anxiety states – around a tenth of all births – each year in Northern Ireland, making the issues raised in the research paper, ‘Time for Action’ published earlier this week (Monday, November 26th) more vital than ever.

 

“Our mission is to connect mothers and new parents with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental health and recover from illness and this report highlights the need for that support,” said Nuala.

“At Moment Health, we believe in the positive power of technology. We can connect new mothers and their families with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental health and recover from illness.

“Our analytics-based technology provides valuable and accurate info that allows people and their clinicians to take the right steps towards recovery.”

In response to the NSPCC research report released earlier this week Moment Health has launched #checkyoursymptoms campaign.

Nuala said: “The Moment Health App supports all women in Northern Ireland to have the opportunity to #earlyintervention to realise via the symptom checker and mood tracker that they aren’t going mad that they are suffering from an illness and where to get help. In addition, the app provides the evidence for health care professionals to get women the help they need.

“The Moment Health app was developed with both mums and dads in mind. Available on iOS and Android, we encourage all new parents to download it and use it to track their moods and check for symptoms. And they can do so with the confidence that the app, which has been developed with the help of clinicians and medical professionals, uses evidence-based screening tools.

“We all know new mums and dads – so we all have the power to look out for new parents around us, to ask them if they’re okay, to let them know they’re not alone, to remind them if they are struggling that it is nothing to be ashamed of in our homes, communities and workplaces"

“Most importantly, to help them realise they are suffering from a treatable illness, and they can recover and feel better with a mix of professional help, peer support, self-awareness and self-care that is unique to every individual.

“Pregnancy and early parenthood are life-altering milestones that are not always wrapped in a dreamy glow. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders don’t affect everyone, sure, but mental health should absolutely be part of the care protocol from pregnancy onwards, so that new parents – and the support persons around them – are aware of the potential for symptoms of depression or anxiety taking hold and know what to do if it happens to them.

“Early intervention leads to an 80-90 per cent chance of successful recovery. This week, and that is why we’re launching our #CheckYourSymptoms campaign to coincide with the NSPCC report.

“It’s vital that new mums, new dads, partners, families and support networks are aware of the common signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety.

 

In the ‘Time for Action’ report Midwives and health visitors who took part in the research stressed that continuity of care and face to face time with mothers and babies is crucial for improving identification of problems and providing support. But the research found that this was undermined by underfunding, overworked and growing levels and complexity of demand.

 

While the research found that health visitors and midwives in Northern Ireland experience similar types of challenges in identifying and responding to perinatal mental illnesses as their counterparts in the rest of the UK, professionals in Northern Ireland have not benefited from the levels of investment made in England, Scotland and Wales.