Maternal depression and burnout must be acknowledged and addressed – also for Early Childhood Development

27.06.19

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM took the opportunity of the discussion on the right to mental health to draw attention to mental health issues affecting mothers around the world.

Promoting and protecting human relationships begins with the bond between infants and their primary caregivers – usually the mothers. Giving a child the best start in life, therefore, starts with supporting maternal health and including maternal mental health as the foundation for a child’s emotional and cognitive development.

In particular, the MMM statement called attention to the issues of maternal postpartum depression and parental burnout:

  • Becoming a mother is a significant experience resulting in substantial mental, social and physical changes, and 15% of new mothers are affected by postpartum depression.
  • Parenting may also be experienced as stressful, exhausting and overwhelming, which can result in burnout. Maternal burnout in particular, is most often associated with being employed, working full-time and being a single mother. According to recent research conducted in Belgium, parental burnout affects 8% of parents.

Maternal mental health issues can lead to insecure attachments or neglect and even violence, which in turn all have a long-lasting negative effect on a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development – a high cost for society in the long term.

We at MMM support the call of the Special Rapporteur to promote non-violent, healthy relationships – and it starts already during early childhood.

Not only must maternal mental health issues be acknowledged and addressed, but parents and society must be educated on child development, positive parenting and the importance of sharing the care. Parents must also be emotionally, socially and economically supported in assuming their nurturing and educational responsibilities so that their children and the whole family thrive.

Ultimately, nurturing healthy and non-violent people and relationships is also about building peace.

  Read the full Statement

Karen Thorsen, MMM Representative at the UN in Geneva, delivered the Statement during the interactive dialog that followed the presentation of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health on Mental Health during the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council.

 

 

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