Petition for a National Strategy for Perinatal Mental Health Care in Canada

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The Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative is a group of advocates across the country working to get a national strategy for perinatal mental health care so that women and men in every province and territory can have access to universal screening and timely treatment for perinatal mental illnesses including prenatal and postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

Whereas:

  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are the most common obstetrical complication making it a significant public health concern; and
  • In Canada and worldwide, 20% of women and 10% of men suffer from a perinatal mental illness; and
  • Stigma, lack of public and professional awareness, and leaving the onus on the mothers and partners to reach out for help, results in only 15% of mothers who experience a PMAD receiving professional treatment; and
  • Despite limitations in Canadian data, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death, with one in 19 maternal deaths in Ontario attributed to suicide; and
  • 85% of mothers are not properly treated with a resulting annual economic cost to Canada of approximately $11 billion dollars; and
  • The UK, Australia, and parts of the U.S. have perinatal mental health strategies and screening guidelines in place; and
  • Canada does not have a nation-wide perinatal mental health strategy or services to provide equitable access to treatment.

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to Create a national perinatal mental health strategy that will provide direction, policy, and funding to develop specialized, comprehensive perinatal mental health care services which include universal screening and timely access to treatment for all women and men during pregnancy and the postpartum period.