CPMHC Thrilled To See Perinatal Mental Health On Mandate Letter For Minister Of Mental Health And Addictions

CPMHC released the following press release today:

(December 17, 2021)- The Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative (CPMHC) is excited to see “ensure timely access to perinatal mental health services” on the mandate letter released yesterday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and we look forward to working with Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Carolyn Bennett on improving perinatal mental health services in Canada.

“Rates of postpartum depression have skyrocketed during the pandemic and show no signs of slowing down,” CPMHC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Patricia Tomasi said. “It’s extremely encouraging to know that the voices of moms, dads, and birthing persons are finally being heard.”

The rate of postpartum depression has increased to one in three from one in five pre-pandemic. 

“Perinatal mental health was already in crisis before the pandemic,” Tomasi said. “There’s no time to waste. There’s nothing less at stake here than the mental well-being of generations to come if we don’t get it right now.”

A recent CPMHC survey found that 95% of health care providers believe current perinatal mental health services are insufficient in Canada. The survey results can be found in CPMHC’s 2021 report: Time for Action which includes 15 recommendations on how to improve perinatal mental health care in Canada. 

“We believe the answer lies in universal screening and timely access to treatment,” CPMHC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Jaime Charlebois said. “Specialized perinatal mental health services and specially dedicated spaces modeled after Mother and Baby Units in the UK, home care, increased training for health care providers, and legislation to create a national perinatal mental health strategy that prioritizes equitable health care across all Canadian jurisdictions is desperately needed.”

Perinatal mental illness can be caused by a number of biological, psychological and environmental factors and is the single greatest determinant of a child’s health over the life course. Infants of people with perinatal mental illness are at a greater risk of developing mental illness in adulthood. 

While postpartum depression is the term most are familiar with, perinatal metal illness covers the range of mental disorders that can occur from conception to one year postpartum and beyond including prenatal or postpartum anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.

Indigenous mothers are 20% more likely to suffer from prenatal and postpartum depression than their white counterparts. Black mothers’ rates of postpartum depression are 40% higher and they and are four times more at risk of maternal mortality than white mothers. It is also believed that LGBTQ+ people experience higher rates of postpartum depression Ten per cent of fathers experience perinatal mental health issues. 

Suicide is the 4th leading cause of maternal death in Canada and perinatal mental illness can have dire consequences across the family. 

“With the right support, perinatal mental illness is treatable,” Charlebois said. “The time to act is now.”


Patricia Tomasi

Co-Founder, Executive Director: Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative

705-715-3141, canpmhc@gmail.com, tomasi.patricia@gmail.com, www.cpmhc.ca 

Jaime Charlebois

Co-Founder, Executive Director: Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative

705-345-9049, canpmhc@gmail.com, jaime.charlebois@gmail.com, www.cpmhc.ca 


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