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Maternal mental health highlighted in a community event

The Timber Cafe in the Home Hardware Building Centre was packed this week for a conversation about maternal mental health. Women and mothers across age groups, and some men too, gathered to hear a discussion about postpartum depression and the community it affects.

One in five women will experience depression during or after their pregnancy, and one in ten dads develop depression during this time. This commonality brought many Lloydminster residents together to hear stories of coping and treating postpartum depression. Maternal Mental Health Day focuses on how the issue can impact everyday people, just like Dina Reiber.

Dina travelled from Luseland, Sask., to discuss her experience with PPD. Reiber is a mother of three daughters. She never experienced mental illness until after having her last daughter. Over the course of her experience living with PPD, she was hospitalized three times. Reiber had to turn to a caregiver for her children while she reached out to treat her mental illness.

“I couldn’t look after my kids properly, I couldn’t do the things I wanted to. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and put my head under the covers. I didn’t want to deal with my kids. It’s awful, you feel like a bad mom,” says Reiber.

Her youngest daughter is now just over two years old. Now that Reiber is starting to feel in control of her mental illness, she’s reaching out to share her story. In doing this, Reiber believes she’s showing others affected by PPD that things will be alright and that she’s removing the stigma around mental illness.

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“I want other moms to know that it’s O.K. to struggle with postpartum. You’re not a bad mom, you’re sick. Take the help, because you need the help and it’s O.K. to ask for help.”

The event and panel discussions were organized by Krista Holden, a mother who’s struggled with PPD herself. She was concerned the event might see a low turnout and was thrilled to see those affected by PPD come and connect with each other. Holden remarks that PPD wasn’t added to the DSM-V until 2013. While she’s excited to see the community pull together, she also looks forward to the work ahead of her.

“We’re just on the brink of moving forward, so I think we’ve got lots of work to do. But this is so promising to see so many families here. Men don’t typically come to this event; we want people to know that it’s not just a mother’s issue; it’s a community that can come together and make that change for families. We want Lloydminster to be the best place to raise families,” says Holden.

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