Today, September 10 is International Suicide Awareness and Prevention Day, and it’s time to talk about maternal suicide including maternal suicide reporting in the U.S.
The United Kingdom last reported that suicide is its #1 cause of maternal mortality. Just three days ago, Japan announced the same.
The World Health Organization, in response to the United Nations’ millennium development goals, prioritized maternal health and maternal mortality noting that maternal suicide is a leading cause of maternal death in developed countries.
I am a mom, wife, daughter, and sister. I grew up surrounded by strong, independent women who were able to find success (broadly defined) despite adversity. Through my work as a clinical psychologist I’ve heard and experienced countless stories of sacrifice. I am an Associate Professor at Palo Alto University where I am fortunate to work with students who are pursuing their PhD in clinical psychology. On any given day I am working on a number of things related to their training or to my professional development. Two current projects that are very meaningful to me in this role are 1) mentoring first generation college and doctoral level students, many of whom identify as women, people of color, or both; and 2)
Depression is a horrific illness that affects as many as 10% of Americans at any one time. Depression is a brain disease that can cause confusion and distortions in thinking, as well as interference with basic physiologic functions, including: sleep, energy, appetite, motor function and more.
Washington D.C. has always been a place that draws me. It is a place of action, compromise, debate, activism. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this year’s Advocacy Days with 2020 Mom. I would like to take a moment to share three aspects of the few days in D.C. that were most impactful and memorable to me.
Brittni was thirty-eight weeks pregnant with her daughter when she had her first intrusive thought. She developed prenatal depression and then after delivery she experienced postpartum anxiety & OCD.
She knew about Postpartum Depression, but she also knew that what she was experiencing didn’t feel like it matched up with PPD. Her husband did a little google searching and found more info. When he told her he thought he found out what was wrong with her, she was both surprised and relieved: “So I’m not crazy?” “I’m not the only one?” She recalled saying. After this, Brittni had brought her symptoms up with her OB, but he had brushed her off saying good luck finding a mental health provider, you’ll probably have a four-month wait. Luckily, she didn’t stop there.
Origins of Mother’s Day Did you know? Mother’s Day was officially founded in 1908 by Anna Jarvis in honor of her mother, Ann, who had been a bereaved parent of 12 children, only 4 of whom grew to adulthood. She intended the day to be an intimate celebration within families to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices mothers like hers make for their children. Interestingly enough, Anna Jarvis never had any children of her own, yet she advocated for nearly 40 years to protect the heart of Mother’s Day against the commercialization that began to run rampant. Rather than profit from the holiday, she chose to spend the rest of her life and entire inheritance rallying against those who sought to profit from the day she held so dear.