The function of the Association can basically be defined by three areas of activity:
Support, Education and Information
Postnatally depressed women may feel unable to go out of their house, and meeting people may cause them a great deal of stress, therefore contact made on the phone or by e-mail can be ideal.
Women often find that talking, or writing to someone, who has had the illness and recovered, allows them to discuss the most distressing symptoms of the illness. The phone and e-mail volunteers also give women hope that they will eventually recover. For those who are not on the phone or e-mail we can offer the services of volunteers who will communicate by post. This service is also available to women who would prefer to be supported by post.
The Association has a countrywide network of phone, e-mail and postal volunteers, who have had, and recovered from post-natal illness. The volunteers are carefully vetted to ensure that they are completely well, that they have had no previous mental illness and that they are not opposed to drug therapy.
Depressed mothers are phoned or written to at regular intervals throughout their illness and the recovery period. The relationship between the volunteer and depressed mother is regularly monitored. Most women find it a great relief to talk to someone who really understands how they feel. Depressed mothers are always advised to seek medical help and constantly assured that they will recover.
The Association runs a support service for husbands and families of the depressed woman. Many of the volunteer husbands will to talk to husbands of sufferers and offer help and advice if necessary.
If you are suffering from postnatal depression we recommend that you try talking to one of our volunteers. We are always happy to hear from depressed mothers and glad to answer any enquiries. You can ring us or email us, but please do enclose an S.A.E. if you write.
The Association has produced a leaflet which is available to maternity units, ante-natal clinics, etc. The leaflet describes the Baby Blues and Post-natal Depression. It seeks to make women more aware of this illness without alarming them. It is hoped that women who do suffer post-natal depression will seek medical advice at an earlier time in the course of the illness if they are educated about it. See Leaflets on PNI
The Association has worked hard over many years to persuade the media to more accurately describe post-natal illness and its effects. The Association is frequently asked to comment on news items and we work hard to reduce sensational and alarming stories.
It is a matter of great sadness that some of the stigma of suffering from post-natal depression still persists but we work continuously to give accurate information to members of the press who contact us.
All those individuals who contact the Association can do so in the utmost confidence.
All matters are considered confidential within our organization and sensitive material is physically destroyed so that our clients confidentiality is protected.
The Association has a publication called "Post-natal Depression This explains the symptoms of the illness and gives some idea of the treatment available, and ways in which sufferers can help themselves.
It is constantly being revised and expanded. The Association is able to advise correspondents on a wide range of issues concerning the management and treatment of postnatal illness.