"Maternity 'care' and mental health"

About: Dorset County Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I was a frequent attender from approx 20 weeks to the c-section of my youngest daughter due to high blood pressure.

Due to the apparently idiopathic nature of my problem, attention turned to my previous history of depression and anxiety. One Doctor wrote in my notes I had a 'significant psychiatric history' (not the case) but at no point did anyone try to talk to me about it, or ask my opinion. I felt as though I was a troublemaker, a hysteric and an attention-seeker.

Even when I confronted this rather dated attitude to mental health, I was told that some of the Doctors were a little old-fashioned in their approach to mental health. I don't think this is an excuse - it is a problem, and I have been left feeling isolated and stigmatised ever since (now almost 2 years on).

I speak out as I feel passionately that there is a vital role for mental health training of all maternity staff - and that emotional well being in pregnancy / perinatal period should be just as important as physical.

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