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  • Sonali Quantius

Why I started Haplomind

It started as a personal frustration. Not being screened nor treated for postpartum depression left me vulnerable and depressed for four long years after giving birth. It wasn't fair to my children, my family nor to my work. It was a condition that could have easily been screened and treated, but it wasn't. I fell through the cracks and on further research, I was astonished to see how many others do as well.

1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men experience perinatal (the period between pregnancy and a year following birth) depression and anxiety. Less than 10% get screened or treated on time. I was one of them, despite living in one of the countries with the best healthcare systems. The truth is mental health issues during the perinatal period are not limited to postpartum depression. Women and men can experience depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar, and postpartum psychosis during pregnancy and one year following the birth of the child. It is more complex than the 'baby blues' (which 80% of women experience due to hormonal adjustments for 2 weeks following birth) and it affects each person differently.

So why is this still an issue in this day and age, when we have the ability to create highly effective mRNA vaccines within a year? Why is suicide still the biggest cause of death in new mothers in 2021? Why is a condition that can be screened and treated early not being done so? Where are the gaps in healthcare and what can be done about it?

These are some of the questions that we will explore in the blog series. Parenthood is hard. We don't need to make it harder. Haplomind was born out of a belief that every person who decides to be a parent should not have to choose between prioritizing good physical health and good mental health - that checking for and treating mental health should be as normal as checking for gestational diabetes during this time. That everyone should have easy, equitable, and evidence-based screening and treatment options for their mental health. And that no-one falls through the cracks - as I did.

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