IN FOCUS Discussion: Maternal Mental Health

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Last week, ABC4 featured Emily Dyche’s story, a mother of five who loved life and her family. It was after her fifth baby that Emily suffered an intense battle with postpartum depression and anxiety. She was tragically killed in an accident on the freeway while suffering a panic attack in 2016. Now, her life and death continue to shine a light on the issue five years later through raising awareness about the signs, symptoms, and most importantly, the resources to help mothers make it through this tough time.

In Utah, 50,000 babies are born every single year, giving Utah the highest birth rate per capita in the United States. According to the Utah Department of Health, 54 new moms are being diagnosed every day with postpartum depression and anxiety. Nearly 43% of Utah moms are experiencing this condition, either during or after pregnancy.

Some symptoms can include feelings of anger, fear, guilt, lack of interest in baby or appetite, or sleeping issues. A new study stated that 1 in 4 moms can experience severe postpartum depression up to three years after having the baby.

Karla Carlston, who is a mother of three, joined ABC4’s Emily Florez for an IN FOCUS discussion about suffering from postpartum mood disorders. She shared the emotions she experienced after having her first child, the expectations she had after delivering her second child, how she struggled to get the help she needed, the importance of having a good support group of doctors and partners, how other people can recognize the signs, and what she is now doing to raise awareness about the issue.

Amy-Rose White, a perinatal psycho-therapist and founder of Postpartum Support International Utah talked about the symptoms of postpartum and anxiety, what kind of treatment options are available for mothers, the type of support that mothers need, and what we are doing as a society to raise awareness on the issue.

Brook Dorff, Maternal Mental Health Specialist at the Utah Department of Health shared more current data on postpartum depression and anxiety in our state, the resources that her agency provides, what can be done to improve conditions on a legislative level, and her message to mothers who may be suffering from this condition.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Carlston, White and Dorff, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

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