Category: Elimisha Mama

World Maternal Mental Health Day 2019

World Maternal Mental Health Dy 2019

Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day 2019.

World Maternal Mental Health Day WMMHD is observed on the first Wednesday of May each year. The day has been in existence since 2016 when a group of maternal mental health advocates, persons with lived experience, mental health care professionals and even academicians came together to bring awareness to maternal mental health.

The main message around WMMHD is that Maternal Mental Health Matters. Everyone needs to know about maternal mental health, the signs and symptoms to look out for as well as where to get treatment and support.

Every year, organizations from all over the world join effort in creating awareness about maternal mental health. This is mainly done through localized events and a collective social media campaign under the #WMMHD and #MaternalMHMatters.

PPDKenya marking World Maternal Mental Health Day

Did you know that 1 in 5 new mothers will get a maternal mental illness? These conditions will often go untreated, largely due to lack of awareness and poor access to treatment and support. The truth is that Maternal Mental illness does not discriminate. Women, regardless of their age, socioeconomic status, religion, orientation and culture can get a maternal mental illness. Increasing this awareness goes a long way in helping affected women get the help they need.

As one of the global partners, Postpartum Depression Kenya is delighted to join the social media push to sensitize the community on maternal mental health and why it matters. By joining this campaign, PPDKenya contributes to the global effort to ensure that more women get professional medical help, and fewer suffer in silence.

How PPDKenya is getting involved

This year, PPDKenya is involved in a number of ways:

  • Through partnering with Weza Dada for the maternal mental health forum (happened on 27.04.2019) See more images here.
  • Through the Elimisha Mama Project at Akshar Healthcare Facility, read about it here.
  • Through a photography project that depicts what Postpartum Depression looks like.

Postpartum Depression is the most common childbirth complication

Postpartum Depression is the most common maternal mental illness, affecting 1 in every 7 new mothers. In Kenya and other low income countries, the rates are thought to be higher, largely due to low awareness and stigma associated with mental illness. In addition to this, mothers who experience gender-based violence, sexual abuse, lack of support (both from the family and the community) are at increased risk of maternal mental illness. Early intervention and treatment for these illnesses is key for both mother and child.

Read More: Can I get Postpartum Depression after the first year?

As we seek to raise awareness this month (and beyond), we are cognizant of the struggles that many Kenyan mothers face. The stigma associated with (maternal) mental illness makes it harder for affected mothers to speak out and get the help they need. For this year’s WMMHD, one of the ways PPDKenya is observing the day is through the use of photography.

The photo project is the brainchild of Postpartum Depression Kenya and Kiarii Kimani Photography. Kiarii Kimani is one of PPDKenya’s partners, and whose brilliant portfolio speaks for itself.

“Motherhood doesn’t come naturally to all women. For some it is a struggle especially because of their psychological make-up. I feel that my images can lend a voice to getting many women psychotherapy in this case dealing with PPD,” Kiarii says.

Kiarii Kimani is passionate about mental health, and through this photo project, helps to express what mothers with Postpartum Depression go through.

Read More: This is what it feels like to have Postpartum Depression

The Mother’s Mind Photo Project

Concept: Postpartum Depression Kenya

Photography: Kiarii Kimani Photography

Model: Lilian of Kathomi Photography

Location: Event Haven

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Introducing the ‘Elimisha Mama’ Program

Elimisha Mama Program by PPDKenya

Motherhood is often thought to be a magical experience. For 1 in 7 new mothers who suffer Postpartum Depression, this may not always be the case. Maternal mental illness can be very lonely and isolating.

Unfortunately, Kenya’s shortage of mental health specialists means that many mothers do not get the treatment that they need. There are just about 62 psychiatrists serving a population of 49.7 million people. These glaring gaps in the mental health sector paint a grim picture.

Gaps that exist in Kenya’s maternal mental health field

Some of the gaps that exist in Kenya’s maternal mental health include:

  • Low awareness of maternal mental health in the society
  • Stigma surrounding (maternal) mental disorders
  • Discrimination against mothers who have a mental illness, making it hard for them to reach out for help.

The ‘Elimisha Mama’ Program

‘Elimisha Mama’, Swahili for ‘Educate a Mother’ is PPDKenya’s flagship project that seeks to address these gaps. The program seeks to incorporate maternal mental health into routine antenatal and postpartum clinics. The aim of the program is to create awareness on maternal mental health as well as provide psychosocial support for moms with a mental illness.

The program takes a two-pronged approach:

  • offering psychoeducative talks during Antenatal and Postpartum Clinics
  • pregnant women and new mothers who screen positive for a maternal mental illness get psychological help. Peer supporters from PPDKenya will also offer psychosocial support onsite. Severe cases will be escalated to the hospital’s psychiatric department.

PPDKenya partnership with Akshar Healthcare Facility, Kikuyu

The Elimisha Mama program rolled out on April 3rd 2019. This was made possible following the partnership between PPDKenya and Akshar Healthcare Facility. Akshar Healthcare, formerly known as Kikuyu Nursing Home, was established in 2012. The health facility takes great pride in providing professional and compassionate care for its patients.

Akshar offers the following services:

  • out-patient and inpatient services
  • immunization
  • dental care
  • psychiatric care
  • maternity services.

The availability of maternity and psychiatric services at Akshar provides a solid foundation for Elimisha Mama.

Antenatal Clinics at the health facility run every Wednesday. Volunteers who would like to join us for Elimisha Mama can email ppdkenya@gmail.com

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