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Helpful Tips for Family and Friends

Family and friends can be a vital part of recovery by offering support.

 

Pregnancy and parenting is not always what you expect…

  • Pregnancy is often seen as a time of joy and excitement, but this is not true for everyone.
  • The birth or adoption of a baby can bring physical, emotional and social changes. Adjustment to new roles and relationships is not always easy.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders are common in pregnancy and postpartum.

  • Up to 20% of women experience depression or anxiety after having a baby. Partners and children can struggle too.
  • It can affect anyone in the family!

If you believe your loved one is at risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone. Don’t Wait – Get Help!

How can you help?

Emotional Support

  • Share your concern and ask how you can help.
  • Be willing to listen and accept their feelings.
  • Provide reassurance and be supportive.
  • Offer encouragement about counselling and treatment.

Hands-on Support

  • Provide meals, do laundry or housework.
  • Help with grocery shopping or driving to appointments.
  • Offer to help arrange childcare.
  • Encourage time for rest or physical activities (i.e. go for a walk)

Informational Support

  • Learn about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • Learn about mental health community and crisis services.
  • Locate helpful information (i.e. on-line resources, support groups).
  • Offer or help find prenatal or postpartum education opportunities.

Community Support

  • Encourage seeing a healthcare professional.
  • Offer to attend medical appointments or support groups.
  • Encourage joining a support group.

What’s Not Helpful

  • Criticizing or judging.
  • Statements like “Snap out of it” or “You should be happy”.
  • Stopping by without calling first.
  • Blaming yourself or others.
 
 

Woman and/or partner may …

  • Be sad and tearful
  • Feel exhausted, but not able to sleep
  • Have changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Feel overwhelmed and can’t concentrate
  • Constantly check the internet for reassurance
  • Have no interest or pleasure in activities they used to enjoy
  • Feel hopeless or frustrated
  • Have feelings of worthlessness
  • Feel restless, irritable or angry
  • Feel guilty and ashamed
  • Avoid spending time with family and friends
  • Have thoughts of hurting themselves
 

*Adapted from Best Start: Creating Circles of Support, January 2010

 
Date of creation: December 1, 2017
Last modified on: February 28, 2018
 
 

References

1Best Start. (2010). Creating circles of support for pregnant women and new parents. Retrieved from
Health Nexus: Ontario; Canada.
2Pacific Post Partum Support Society (2018). Support for you. Retrieved from
http://postpartum.org/services/supporters/support/
3Centre for Addiction and Mental Health . (2012).Supports and education for families and friends. Retrieved from
http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/care_program_and_services/support_for_families_and_friends/Pages/support_groups_families_friends.aspx
4Mayo Clinic (August, 2015). Depression: Supporting a family member or friend. Retrieved from
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression/art-20045943
5Dr. Cindy Lee Dennis (2015). Public Health Ontario presentation. PHO Rounds: Visiting Speaker: The Healthy Human Development Table Presents: Perinatal Depression – Prevention and Treatment.