Help available for depressed Mums
MANY pregnant women eagerly count down the 40 weeks it takes to meet their child, but for some, the reality of a new baby can have a devastating effect.
Although the issue of post-natal depression is often a taboo subject, the illness is very common.
And help is available.
Acting regional service manager for mental health services Stephen Lewis said up to 16% of mothers develop post natal depression following the birth of a child.
He said the illness is not to be confused with the more common baby blues, which is an "emotional disturbance" that affects around 80% of mothers and lasts up to 10 days.
"Post-natal depression is identified as a sad mood or lack of pleasure that persists beyond a month and up to 12 months," he said.
Mr Lewis said loved ones were more likely to notice the signs of depression, than the person who was suffering from it.
"The main signs are the loss of employment, the loss of pleasure, being worried and anxious, feeling overwhelmed or persistently sad and tearful and having difficulty sleeping."
Mr Lewis said a number of factors could be responsible for a post-natal depression diagnosis, including a chemical imbalance in the body, stressful birth, an unwell baby and a history of depression.
Although it can be difficult for a mother to admit she was struggling and may be depressed, Mr Lewis encouraged affected mothers to seek the treatment they need.
"In the past five years, depression has become very recognised and it's not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about," he said.
"It is treatable, there are support groups out there and early intervention is the best thing."
Visit your GP
Phone community mental health on 46603901 during business hours or 46603718
Phone Beyond Blue on 1300224636