LibLink: Nick Clegg writes for Netmums on Post Natal Depression

Last Wednesday was World Mental Health Day. As we would expect from a leader who is so interested in the subject, Nick Clegg issued a message on his Deputy Prime Minister’s website.

He also wrote a blog for Netmums on Post Natal Depression. He said:

Postnatal depression is an illness. If left untreated, it can have very harmful long-term effects, for both the mother and child. For example, a mother’s long-term depression can lead to her child developing behaviour problems and issues with bonding, sleeping and eating. It can also lead to her child developing learning difficulties at school and depression in later life.

With the right treatment mothers with postnatal depression can make a full recovery, and I want to make sure more women and their families get the support they need, when they need it.

Earlier this year, we promised more NHS help for women with postnatal depression. We are recruiting more heath visitors across the country and they will all now get specialist   training to spot the early signs of postnatal depression.  They will make sure all women get vital professional support during and after birth.  Health visitors and midwives will team up to offer the best help to new parents. They won’t just concentrate on the practical ins and outs of looking after a baby – much of the focus will be on the emotional wellbeing of the entire family.

You can read Nick’s whole blog here. I think it’s great that Nick takes such an interest and gets out there and talks about it every chance he gets.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Richard Dean 17th Oct '12 - 9:00pm

    I agree this is great, I hope the promises are kept.
    There is further useful information on PND on Mind’s website at

  • I agree its great that Nick is taking an interest and informing himself of the issues – combined with action!

    I’ve looked up some of the things that contribute to/ cause PND – as prevention is better than cure, and perhaps something could be done there too. They include:
    Low income/poverty,
    Stressful major life events (I read that the most stressful are bereavement, relationship breakdown and moving house.)
    Social support – so here the focus on emotional well-being Nick talks about will help too.

  • I just tried out this imaginary scenario relating to PND:

    Whoops, your unscrupulous employer just found out you’re pregnant. Hello job seekers allowance, hello poverty – and not just a little “poverty minus a pound” – no, its a halfway to the bottom kind of poverty. No more healthy food for you. Yikes!

    Housing benefit doesn’t cover your flat anymore because you’re under 35, so you either have to move into shared accommodation with a bunch of strangers, move into the cheapest grottiest hotel, or just be homeless. Use up all your savings (if you were ever lucky/careful enough to save). You need to buy stuff for a baby? Can’t afford it!

    Feeling depressed yet? What was the third thing for PND?

  • Richard Dean 22nd Oct '12 - 2:14am

    Nick starts by saying “PND is an illness”. Like every illness, adverse social and economic circumstances can make it worse, but are not necessarily the root cause. The website linked to in my previous comment was for the Mind organization, which addresses illnesses affecting (or of) the mind. Here are some causes given on that website:

    The shock of becoming a mother
    Changed relationships
    Lack of support
    Other stresses to cope with
    Difficult labour
    Changes to your body
    Hormonal upheaval
    Childhood experiences

    The website says that love, support and nurture from family, friends and community can be vital in helping [a sufferer] to cope, and that things that sufferers can do to help themselves include

    Finding someone to talk to
    Meeting other parents – exchanging experiences, support
    Taking care of yourself
    Learning to relax

    It can take a year or more for some people to recover. Everything on that website suggests to me that the root cause is linked to the biological process of giving birth, and the emotional and psychological experiences that are linked to that.

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