Did you know that women experience twice as much depression as men? Would that be because we’re more sensitive? I think not. The explanation which best fits is that we are more affected by hormonal shifts which influence our brain chemistry, particulary around times when our lives change dramatically-like pregnancy and post-postpartum.
In fact, 1 in 8 women will experience a clinical episode of depression or anxiety during pregnancy, postpartum and menopause, which is greater than the occurence of most health conditions. So, why aren’t women being routinely screened for mood and anxiety conditions? How can health conditions which have such a profound impact on moms, babies and families continue to be ignored? How many more stories like Miriam Carey’s will unfold ?
To end such needless suffering and tragedies, we must come forward and share our stories to support each other in getting the help we need and deserve. We must be prepared to educate our health providers and make it clear that we expect to be cared for-body, mind, heart and soul. We must challenge our own biases about anxiety and depression, and accept them as “health conditions” just like heart disease or diabetes.
Ghandi said, “Become the change you want to see in the world.”
Now, it’s up to each of us to do our part to reduce the stigma and shame associated with mental health conditions. In Miriam’s memory and for the sake of safeguarding the health of moms and babies, WE MUST.