September 8th - 14th is National Suicide Prevention Week
When we think of suicide, not a lot of people would think of a new mom. However, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in June published an article entitled Maternal drug-related death and suicide are leading causes of postpartum death in California. This article examined deaths in the 12 months after delivery, including heterogeneity by sociodemographic factors in women between 2010 and 2012. Of the 300 deaths, they found suicide was the seventh leading cause.
As scary as it is, it can be a reality for some families.
When completing out your questionnaires (see Postpartum Depression/Anxiety Symptom Check) for your doctor/therapist at your follow-up, you might have seen one of the following questions:
- The thought of harming myself has occurred to me (in EPDS)
- Thoughts you were better off dead or hurting yourself (PHQ-9)
These questions are important to be asked and even more important to be answered truthfully. The article states that "two thirds of women who died, including 74% of those who died by drugs/suicide, made ≥1 emergency department or hospital visit between their delivery and death." It makes me wonder, what if someone took the time to ask just a little more questions?
Suicide risk factors include depression disorder(s), anxiety disorder(s), and physical health conditions especially ones that cause pain. As a mom, whether you have postpartum depression/anxiety or not, you may have had thoughts like the one above in some capacity. As cliché as it sounds, we can't solve all of our problems in our heads. It's important that we continue to find ways to take care of our mental health.
This week, reach out to your friends, lend a washed helping hand, and love on them a little more. No one will ever know what people are fighting through on the inside, so having a trustworthy and caring support system or someone to just say I'm thinking of you, may save a life.
Below are some resources as you consider taking control of your mental health. Please share this with your loved ones and if you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
- Actions to Preventing Suicide by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Warning Signs by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Finding a Crisis Center by the Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Being Prepared for a Crisis (For loved ones supporting to help a person at risk) by the National Alliance of Mental Illness
- Treatments and Therapies by National Institute of Mental Health