Bhutila Karpoche, Parkdale—High Park MPP and Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions, has tabled a bill calling for the provincial government to review maternal mental health in Ontario and develop and implement an action plan.
The bill was inspired by the outpouring of responses Karpoche received after speaking in the Ontario legislature about the struggles moms face after birth while holding her newborn son. She received a flood of messages from fellow moms, who shared stories of suffering in silence with post-partum depression, stigma and lack of community-based supports.
“The physical recovery from childbirth is already difficult, but the process of post-partum mental health recovery is equally harrowing. Mothers must try to heal physically and mentally from the childbirth experience while enduring sleepless nights and managing the exhausting and often anxiety-inducing day-to-day of newborn care,” said Karpoche. “It can all be so overwhelming, and no mom should have to feel like she’s all alone, without anywhere to turn for support.”
Karpoche said she considers herself fortunate to have the support system that she does, and she feels it’s important to use the platform she has as an MPP to stand up for fellow moms.
Maternal mental illness is common — it touches up to one in five new moms — and yet it goes undiagnosed and untreated for so many.
“Too often, help is not there when new moms need it,” said Karpoche. “For years, mental health and addictions services in Ontario were underfunded by the Liberals, and now Doug Ford’s Conservatives are taking things from bad to worse with cuts.”
“New moms and moms-to-be who are struggling with their mental health deserve better. That’s why I’m calling on the provincial government conduct a review and develop a coordinated plan to prevent and treat illnesses like post-partum depression.”
Karpoche’s bill also proposes to declare the first Wednesday of May Maternal Mental Health Day in Ontario to help raise awareness.
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