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Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health

More than 1 in 10 women experience mental ill-health during pregnancy or in the first year of having a baby. The term “perinatal mental illness” is used to describe a range of mental health issues that can be experienced by women during this period. These include anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, post partum psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. If these illnesses go untreated they can have a huge impact on the women, their babies and their families. Fathers can be negatively impacted and it is suggested that 24-50% of fathers whose partners experience perinatal depression will also experience depression. Often, the entire family unit is under more pressure at this time.

At Relate NI we know that becoming a parent is one of the most stressful life events and many new parents report arguing more. This could be due to tiredness due to sleep disturbance or not being able to find time to spend together. The evidence is clear that the quality of relationships is linked to mental health. Evidence suggests that poor quality relationships are a risk factor for depression and anxiety. Conversely, the treatment of relationship distress could alleviate up to 30% of cases of depression. Some studies suggest that over 60% of people who are diagnosed with depression attribute this to relationship difficulties. Professional guidelines from National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend couple therapy for depression in adults and couple/family therapy for antenatal and postnatal mental health.

Supporting Parents & Families

Relate NI’s services can help and we work with individuals, couples and whole families to improve wellbeing. Call us to find out how we can help you. We have also launched a perinatal counselling service alongside The Parents Rooms (formerly We Are Pangs), for more information or to access this new perinatal mental health service, visit

For Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, Relate NI & The Parent Rooms have put together a series of tips & ideas to help support parents & relationships. Download below for free!


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"When I first came for counselling I felt that I was drowning.  I have completed my sessions and I now feel that I can cope a lot better with everything.  Thank you for a brilliant service."

"My Relate NI Counsellor was excellent.  So helpful and conscientious of what I was going through.  She has helped me immeasurably."


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