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Maternal Mental Health Important To Successful Motherhood But Overlooked

In the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts, writes, “On the list of health risks women are subjected to, mental health seldom reaches the top. And while there are a lot of stigmas around many diseases, there may not be a close rival to the stigma those with diseases of the mind face each day. Mental illness pushes those who are already marginalized in developed and developing societies, even further into the margins.” In a two-part interview, Burns speaks with Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist who specializes in maternal mental health, about perinatal mood disorders and postpartum depression (PPD) among women in developing countries. In the first part, Zucker says that without accurate data on the mental wellbeing of mothers, “we don’t know … how widespread postpartum depression is in the developing world” (10/23). In the second part, Zucker discusses the importance of treatment and counseling, and says, “Women need to be tender with themselves as they enter into uncharted territory — learning about and getting accustomed to their new identity in motherhood” (10/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.