09 June 2023

What is postpartum depression?

Having a new baby brings on a lot of big feelings – love, joy, excitement, frustration, and nervousness to name a few. Experiencing highs and lows in the first weeks and months after birth are to be expected given the big emotional and physical changes that come with having and caring for a new little one. But for many, feelings of depression and…, What are the “baby blues”?, About two to three days after giving birth, feelings of depression and anxiety are common. You may experience crying for no reason, having trouble sleeping or questioning your ability to care for your new baby. “This is largely due to the shift in levels of progesterone” Dr. Stuebe explains. But changes in hormones are unlikely to be the only…, What is postpartum depression or postnatal depression?, Postpartum depression or postnatal depression is different from the baby blues. It usually occurs two to eight weeks after giving birth but can happen up to a year after the baby is born. “One of the important things about postpartum depression is it's not just feeling sad,” Dr. Stuebe explains. Feelings of intense anxiety are also a common…, What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?, The symptoms of postnatal depression are similar to the symptoms of depression. They include: Feeling sad or low Being unable to enjoy things that normally bring you pleasure Tiredness or loss of energy Poor concentration or attention span Low self-esteem and self-confidence Disturbed sleep, even when your baby is asleep Changes in appetite You…, Is there any way to protect against postpartum depression?, Psychoeducation to develop positive coping strategies, manage stress and build supportive networks can be helpful in protecting against postpartum depression. This involves learning about and understanding mental health and wellbeing. It's similar to physical education, where you learn about how your body works, how to look after it and the…, I’m feeling emotionally numb after giving birth. Is this common?, Absolutely. “I think that we put a lot of pressure on people to feel like ‘hold your baby and it'll be love at first sight and you’ll be filled with joy!’, and certainly lots of people feel this way when they meet their baby for the first time, but not always – particularly for those who have had a traumatic birth experience, a long labour or an…, What are some of the ways to support yourself if you are experiencing postpartum depression?, Make sure you are getting enough care and support at home. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating adequate meals? “A lot of new parents are taking care of their baby and they're not getting a decent meal,” says Dr. Stuebe. “Getting a nutritious, protein-filled meal can help you feel just a little bit more human.” Psychotherapy (talk therapy…, How can my partner support me at home?, Throughout human history, communities have cared for babies together. “Everybody needs a village, and it's incredibly important that people who have just given birth have someone taking care of them while they're taking care of their baby.” Dr. Stuebe recommends that partners or other loved ones can be supportive by doing the following: Make sure…, When should I reach out for help?, “I tell parents, as soon as you think, ‘this doesn't seem right to me,’ then reaching out to a trusted healthcare provider is really helpful,” recommends Dr. Stuebe. “In the same way that if you had a high fever, you would call for help. Postpartum Support International says, and I love this, ‘You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with help…
19 October 2022

How to talk to your children about bullying

Watching your child experience the physical and emotional pain of bullying or cyberbullying is heartbreaking.  Some parents are unsure where to begin to help protect their children from bullying and violence. Others may not know if their children are victims, bystanders or even perpetrators of harmful behaviours.  Here are some tips on how to…, Understanding the basics, What is bullying? You can usually identify bullying through the following three characteristics: intent, repetition, and power. A bully intends to cause pain, either through physical harm or hurtful words or behaviour, and does so repeatedly. Boys are more likely to experience physical bullying, while girls are more likely to experience…, Starting with prevention, How can I help prevent bullying in my child’s school? The first step to keeping your child safe, whether in-person or online, is making sure they know the issue.  Educate your children about bullying. Once they know what bullying is, your children will be able to identify it more easily, whether it is happening to them or someone else.  Talk…, Responding to bullying, What should I do if my child is being bullied or threatened? If you know your child is being bullied, there are several steps you can take to help them: Listen to your child openly and calmly. Focus on making them feel heard and supported, instead of trying to find the cause of the bullying or trying to solve the problem. Make sure they know that…, Take action, In addition to being a support system to your child, you can work with your school and even your local or national decision-makers and local leaders to change policies to prevent and address bullying. Learn more:
07 October 2022

What are panic attacks?

A panic attack is an intense feeling of fear and anxiety. It often happens if people feel anxious about something happening in their life or have experienced something difficult or stressful. Panic attacks can feel very frightening, especially for children, but they can usually be stopped with treatment. It’s important to know that a panic attack…, What is a panic attack?, A panic attack is a feeling of fear and anxiety that can overwhelm us quite suddenly and is usually accompanied by intense physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath and a racing heart. Many children feel a sense of terror during an attack, like something bad is about to happen. These feelings can occur even when there is no…, What causes panic attacks?, It is not always clear what causes panic attacks in children or adults. What we know is feeling anxious about something or experiencing something difficult or stressful can cause a panic attack. These situations include: Anxiety caused by a difficult experience at home or school Stress about things like exams, friendships or relationships The…, Panic attacks in children and adolescents, Panic attacks often begin during adolescence, although they may start during childhood. Attacks can lead to severe anxiety, as well as affecting other parts of a child's mood or functioning. Some children begin to avoid situations where they fear a panic attack may occur. Adolescents might use alcohol or drugs to reduce their anxiety. If not…, Signs and symptoms of panic attacks, If your child experiences a panic attack, they might feel out of control with what’s going on around them, scared that their body is in danger or even like they are dying. Our bodies can react in different ways to panic attacks. Some of these reactions include:  Breathlessness, quick breathing or finding it hard to breathe  Light-headedness or a…, Ways to help your child cope, Knowing what triggers an attack is the first step in attacking panic. Ask your child how they feel and what is making them feel anxious or stressed. Are there certain situations or places that cause them to feel panicky? This knowledge can help your child think about what they can do to cope with those situations.  During a panic attack, your…, When to seek professional help, In severe cases of panic attacks, the child or adolescent may be afraid to leave home. If you notice your child showing persisting symptoms of panic attacks, it is time to seek help from your healthcare provider. Children and adolescents with symptoms of panic attacks should first be evaluated by their family doctor or pediatrician. If no other…
02 October 2022

What is stress?

We live in a time of increased stress in the world. Like adults, many children are struggling right now. We’re going through many drastic shifts in the world, but there are many other things that can also lead to stress in children – negative situations at home, violence in schools or exams. Even positive changes like moving to a bigger house or…, What is stress?, Stress is a common feeling we get when we feel under pressure, overwhelmed or unable to cope. Small amounts of stress can be good for us and motivate us to achieve goals like taking an exam or giving a speech. But too much of it, especially when it feels out of control, can negatively impact our mood, physical and mental well-being and…, What causes stress?, Children don’t always experience stress the way adults do. Whereas work-related stress is common among adults, most children experience stress when they cannot cope with threatening, difficult or painful situations. These include: Negative thoughts or feelings about themselves Changes in their bodies like the beginning of puberty The demands of…, Stress in children and adolescents, Stress can be triggered in children when they experience something new or unexpected. For young children, tensions at home such as domestic abuse, separation of parents or  the death of a loved one  are common causes of stress. School is another common reason – making new friends or taking exams can make children feel overwhelmed. As children grow…, Signs and symptoms of stress in kids, When the body is under stress it produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that prepare us for urgent action – also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. This can have many effects on a child’s mind and body, such as:, Physical, Shallow breathing, sweating and a racing heart Headaches, dizziness and difficulty sleeping Nausea, indigestion or digestive problems Weight gain or loss from eating too much or too little Aches and pains and falling sick more often., Emotional and mental, Irritability and anger causing temper outbursts or withdrawing from family and friends Neglecting responsibilities, lower efficiency at tasks or having difficulty concentrating Emotional distress such as continuously feeling sad or being tearful. These symptoms can often lead to more stress. It is important to help your child find ways to cope, so…, Ways to help your child cope, When children are feeling stressed, parents can play an important role in helping them find ways to cope. Like adults, children sometimes need to be reminded to be kind to themselves.   Spot the triggers: Help your child recognize and begin to track the times they felt stressed and look for patterns in how they reacted. What was happening at the…, When to seek professional help, If your child is finding it difficult to cope, consider meeting with a trained expert who can help. Talk to your family doctor or a counsellor for advice. They should be able to advise you on available treatment, such as time with a psychologist who helps people to manage stress and establish positive mental health habits. Don’t be afraid to seek…
04 February 2022

5 ways to better mental health online

Being online can present lots of great opportunities to connect, learn and share what’s important to you, but it comes with challenges too. If social media or the internet has ever made you feel stressed, envious or lonely, or experience feelings of lower self‑esteem or social anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Here are five tips on how to look…, 1. Avoid doomscrolling, Pay close attention to how social media and online content is influencing your emotions, thoughts or actions. How does it make you feel? Does reading the news make you feel informed or stressed? Does seeing photos of your friends at a party make you feel good or envious? Do you check your phone first thing in the morning to learn about breaking…, 2. Be mindful, There are loads of great online tools and content that can help support all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. From meditation apps to help you relax and focus, to platforms that help you develop your sense of identity and self, stay connected and support one another. There are lots of great online learning tools where you can try something…, 3. Protect yourself and others online, Check the privacy settings on all your social media profiles. Keep webcams covered when not in use. Be careful when signing up to apps and services online – especially providing your full name, address or photo. If you are concerned about something you have seen or experienced online, you should talk to a trusted adult like a parent or teacher,…, 4. Choose kindness, Use social media for good, by sharing positive and supportive content and messages with your friends, family and classmates. For example, you could reach out to let someone know you’re thinking of them or add a positive comment on a post they shared. If you find yourself responding to a message or post with something negative, pause and consider…, 5. Stay present and connected , The lines between the online and offline worlds can feel increasingly blurred, making it hard to live in the present moment and satisfy our innate need for human contact. Do you ever find yourself interrupting what you are doing so you can post it on social media, or scrolling through your friend’s stories rather than calling or meeting up to see…