Welcome to the official site for the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative! We are a group of advocates working to get Canada’s first-ever national perinatal mental health strategy. Please join us by signing up to be part of our mailing list.
Our mission is to get the federal government to create a national perinatal mental health strategy that will provide direction, policy, and funding for improvements to perinatal mental health care including universal screening and timely access to treatment for women and men during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
In Canada and worldwide, 20% of women and 10% of men suffer from a perinatal mental illness. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are the most common obstetrical complication making it a significant public health concern
Poor mental health affects the expectant and new mother’s overall emotional and physical well-being, but also impacts unborn, newborn and developing children, partners, family, friends and society as a whole
Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences, of which parental depression is one, results in high levels of toxic stress on a child’s developing brain that increases the likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes later in life
Suicide is a leading cause of maternal death, with one in 9 women dying by suicide in the UK. Despite limitations in Canadian data suicide is the fourth leading cause of death, with one in 19 maternal deaths in Ontario attributed to suicide
Maternal depression and anxiety are stronger risk factors for child behaviour problems than smoking, binge drinking, and emotional or physical domestic abuse
More women suffer from PMADs than there are new cases of breast cancer and the combined new cases (all genders) of leukemia, tuberculosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases, Lupus, and epilepsy annually
Cost estimates for untreated mothers and children affected by perinatal mental illness is estimated at $150,000 per mother child dyad with 72% of costs allocated to the child, which can be reduced to $5,000 with screening and treatment; 85% of mothers are not properly treated with a resulting annual economic cost to Canada of approximately $11 billion dollars.
Stigma, lack of public and professional awareness, and leaving the onus on the mothers to reach out for help, results in only 15% of mothers who experience a PMAD receiving professional treatment. Some countries, such as the UK and Australia, have maternal mental health strategies and screening guidelines in place.