Message from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on World Maternal Mental Health Day

Statement

May 4, 2022 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada

Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day. This is a day to raise awareness of perinatal mental illness—a topic that is very important to me as a family doctor and a parliamentarian.

This morning, I participated in Flora's Walk. This is an event to honour the memory of Flora Babakhani, who tragically lost her life to postpartum psychosis. There are many events taking place across Canada to commemorate Flora's life and raise awareness of perinatal health care in Canada. We encourage you to participate if you can.

Today we are especially grateful to the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative for their impressive advocacy raising public and professional awareness to ensure that people who experience pregnancy-related mental illness have access to the resources and supports they need. By working together with provinces and territories, we will ensure that mental health care, including perinatal mental health care, is treated as a full and equal part of our health care system.

At our recent round table on perinatal mental health we heard from participants from across the country - researchers, clinicians and those with lived and living experience of perinatal mental illness. Indigenous perspectives were especially important. We learned about best practices and also the gaps that remain. Today we recognize how much more we need to do to support people experiencing perinatal mental illness. We are committed to ongoing discussions with partners and stakeholders to discuss the need for national standards to ensure the best possible perinatal mental health care wherever they live in Canada.

To all the new parents who may be struggling, please do not carry this burden alone or in silence. Getting medical help is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Talk to a health care provider about what you are feeling. There are safe and effective treatments for mental illness. A health care provider can find help for you based on your symptoms.

You can also reach out to Wellness Together Canada (WTC) for support. WTC is a 24/7 online portal that provides free mental health and substance use support to all Canadians, including one-on-one phone counselling sessions with a mental health professional.

I again want to thank the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative for their ongoing work to bring awareness to maternal mental health and reduce the stigma around perinatal mental illness. Together, we can achieve our goal of improving perinatal mental health from coast to coast to coast.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Contacts

Maja Staka
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and
Associate Minister of Health
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

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