Mothers experiencing significant increase in depression and anxiety due to pandemic

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Mothers are experiencing a significant increase in depression and anxiety symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic. This has been especially true in mothers who have had disruptions in employment or income, had struggles balancing homeschooling and working from home, and had difficulty accessing childcare. A recent Canadian study in The Lancet Psychiatry found approximately 30 per cent of mothers reporting clinically significant symptoms of depression or anxiety during the pandemic.

Dr. Tanya Tulipan, photo by Ryan Wilson, IWK

“It is important to pay special attention to how being a parent during this pandemic has affected your ability to work, socialize, and access the supports you need to improve your mental health,” says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, psychiatrist for reproductive mental health at the IWK. “The good news is there is help available.”

The IWK Reproductive Mental Health Service is a clinic dedicated to the treatment of mental health conditions in pregnancy and postpartum.  Together with family doctors, midwives and obstetricians, they can help women decide what type of treatment is best for their health as they adjust to motherhood.

“Being a parent during a pandemic is exceptionally difficult,” says Dr. Lynn Bussey, chief of IWK Family Medicine. “Remember, to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself too – recharge your own batteries. Please reach out to your community provider if you or your children need support. We want to hear from you and we want to help your family stay well.”

Families needing extra support can contact the nearest Family Resource Centre or visit for a list of local resources.

World Maternal Mental Health Day is May 5, 2021.  This is a day dedicated to raising awareness of Peripartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), advocating for better screening and treatment, and celebrating the advances in research and treatment programs that have been helping families all around the world.