Post Partum Depression and Mental Health in Maori Women in New Zealand

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1. Introduction

Mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety are very common before, and after childbirth. Depression is experienced by up to 15% of all women in the postpartum period, although these rates may be as high as 20% for New Zealand women (McGill, Benzie-Burrows, Holland, Langer & Sweet, 1995; Johnstone, & Read, 2000).
The risks associated with delayed/lack of treatment for postnatal depression can have significant adverse effects on early mother-infant attachment and interaction, and can negatively impact the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development of the child (BPAC, 2010).
As part of the public health sector, Well Child nurses play a considerable role in protecting the wellbeing of children and families.
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The purpose of this report is to highlight the Well Child nurses role in improving practice around maternal mental health in the postpartum period, ensuring primary health care is delivered and received effectively by the at risk community, and the overall health deficits associated with postnatal depression are avoided or reduced.

2. Discussion

Postnatal depression is characterized by a prolonged period of emotional disturbance, initially experienced up to 6 months after childbirth, and can last for up to a year. The symptoms for postnatal depression coincide with the symptoms for depression at any other stage in life, including; depressed mood, anhedonia, and low energy. However, the effect of these symptoms can impair the mother's ability to tend to their infants developmental, physical, and emotional needs, illuminating a potentially profound health impact (Cohen, Wang, & Nonacs, 2010).

There is no exact cause of postnatal depression, however three major meta-analytical studies have produced a list of risk factors common amongst mothers that have experienced a depressive postnatal illness: A history of depression, antenatal depression, antenatal anxiety, stressful life events pre/post conception, low self

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