Picture Credit: UVU's Utah women and leadership project

Picture Credit: UVU's Utah women and leadership project

A recent report from the Utah Department of Health (UHOD) suggested that postpartum depression has become more common in Utah.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), postpartum depression, also known as maternal depression or postpartum anxiety, is the feeling of overwhelming sadness or anxiety before, during, or after a mother gives birth. These feelings can prevent a mother from taking care of her family.

NIMH’s website listed multiple symptoms mothers with postpartum depression may face, including “crying more often, having trouble forming an emotional attachment with her baby, persistently doubting her ability to care for her baby, [and] thinking about harming herself or her baby.”

However, the mother isn’t the only victim when it comes to postpartum depression. The development of babies is also impacted by the depression his/her mother faces.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), babies, toddlers or children with depressed mothers can experience multiple symptoms, including, “trouble interacting with their mother, being withdrawn, not doing as well in school, or having behavioral or learning difficulties.”

UHOD’s report stated that women who were 19 and younger or who experienced physical abuse were most likely to report symptoms of postpartum depression, adding, “According to national PRAMStat data, 15.3% of women in Utah reported frequent postpartum symptoms, which is the second highest of the 26 reporting sites in 2009-2011.”

There are multiple reasons why Utah is more prone to facing depression.

Utah Hospital Association CEO and President, Greg Bell, explained, “We have two-income families and everybody wants to do well in school. There’s a lot of peer pressure, social media, and bullying. These issues are becoming more intense than they used to be.”

At Hillcrest, some students, whether teenage mothers or not, are all-too familiar with the pain of postpartum anxiety, or even depression in general. Part of this may be due to the rigor of classes or online harassment.

Many suicides that take place in Utah, as the UHOD stated suicide as one of the leading causes of death for those between ages 10 to 17.

A student considering self-harm or his/her worried loved ones should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The SafeUT app, Hope Squad, and the Counseling Center are examples of other great resources.