New mothers face hidden mental health crisis in lockdown, UK study finds

SourceWorld Economic Forum
SectorHealthcare
CountryMiddle east

Research shows that 43% of new mothers met the criteria for clinically relevant depression and 61% met the criteria for anxiety during the first UK lockdown. More than one-third of the women who met this criteria were not clinically diagnosed. The researchers suggest that more work is needed to support mothers during this period. New mothers experienced worryingly high rates of depression and anxiety during the first lockdown, our new research has revealed. One of the major contributing factors to them feeling this way was the psychological impact of social distancing measures. Our study examined the psychological and social experiences of over 600 women with babies between birth and 12 weeks old during the first UK lockdown. We wanted to understand prevalence rates of “clinically relevant” maternal depression and anxiety. By clinically relevant, we mean mothers who scored above a certain threshold on questionnaires normally used by clinicians when they assess and diagnose mental health conditions. Usual rates of depression and anxiety after birth in the UK are around 15%. Our survey found similar rates, with 11% of women reporting they already had a current clinical diagnosis of depression and 18% reporting an existing clinical diagnosis of anxiety.

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