Inside The Horrifying Reality Of Postpartum Psychosis



It is a rare and devastating psychiatric emergency and a condition that too often ends in tragedy. And yet there is far too little support. Whereas postnatal depression affects one in five new mums, postnatal depression occurs after no more than two births in every 1000. For most, it will be a one-off episode that, once treated, never returns. For others, it heralds the start of ongoing issues, such as bipolar disorder.

“It usually comes on in a very quick and spectacular manner, within two to three weeks of giving birth, but the onset can also be within hours of delivery or many weeks later. It’s characterised by a loss of ability to know what’s real and what’s imagined, which might include paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.”

– Marie-Paule Austin, head of psychiatry at The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne

Some women suddenly believe they or their baby have special powers – or, on the flipside, that they’re evil or defective. This, in itself, is distressing. But these fears can escalate, leading to the woman’s belief that life, for herself and her baby, is no longer worth living. And yet, too often postpartum psychosis is not picked up during routine health visits. Even when it is, a lack of dedicated resourcing can mean that women miss out on vital care.

“Investment in research and treatment is crucial. But there is an increasing awareness that women’s health – including women’s mental health – has not been given the priority in research and clinical funding.”

– Professor Megan Galbally, director of the Centre of Women’s and Children’s Mental Health at Monash Health

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



Read Ceri David’s report into this little-known condition, and the shocking lack of resourcing around it at PRIMER.


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