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Launch A Helpline for New Mothers Battling Depression in Maharashtra

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29 May 2017 - "Post-partum depression: "I used to contemplate ways to kill me""
14 Oct 2018 - "Mother throws newborn into lake: Postpartum depression to be blamed?".

Childbirth is an important milestone in every woman's life. Post child-birth, a mother is expected to be happy and on cloud nine. But for many it can be too overwhelming, and brings anxiety and fear. This type of mental state is called Post-partum depression (PPD). As per WHO report 2017, 1 in 5 moms in India go through PPD. This can vary from baby blues (a transient phase of mood disorder that can last for about a couple of weeks) to post-partum psychosis, a more severe form of PPD that needs immediate medical attention.

I recently delivered a baby girl. For the first 8-10 days, I had experienced a brief period of anxiety and a sense of loss of control and perspective. There were times when I felt a sense of irritation and self-doubt. However, in my case, my family and I were aware of PPD and sensitised about this, much before childbirth by my brother who is a doctor. So everyone around me were really supportive and my post-pregnancy blues were extremely short-lived.

As I cuddle with my 5-month old daughter, I often think about mothers who have no awareness about PPD nor a strong support system around them. What about mothers who are scared to show their anxieties for the fear of being judged? They are forced to slap on a fake smile and pretend to be happy, while ignoring their mental health.

A mother's well-being is not just for herself, but also for the new born who is completely dependent on her.

Maharashtra has a birth rate of 1.8 births per woman. I wish that every new mother in my state has knowledge about PPD and the support of her family, and the support of family, so that can be better prepared if the blues hit.

The Government of Maharashtra can do its bit to ensure that every new mother is made aware of what is PPD and knows how and where to seek help.

Sign my petition and join me in asking Minister for Women and Child Development, Maharashtra to create awareness on PPD for all the new mothers of Maharashtra.
This should entail

1) Running an awareness campaign on Post-partum Depression (PPD) in all major districts of Maharashtra for women who are currently pregnant, on or before 12th May 2019 (International Mother's Day)
2) Creating toll-free helpline number for the new mothers who are in distress or need immediate medical help
3) Displaying the toll-free number in all hospitals of Maharashtra, and publishing and broadcasting it in all print, television and digital ads

I believe my campaign will ensure a safe, happy and healthy motherhood experience for all new mothers. And this will lay the foundation for a stronger future generation and, in turn, a strong nation.
#SupportForNewMoms #IndiaForStrongerMoms #SwasthaBharath #MaternalMHealthMatters #TransformHealth

Picture credit: Asia Media International