Northern Ireland

Postpartum psychosis support group to have first meeting

Around 35 women a year in Northern Ireland experience postpartum psychosis
Around 35 women a year in Northern Ireland experience postpartum psychosis

AN online support group for women in the north who have suffered from postpartum psychosis is to have its first meeting tonight.

The group has been set up by Action on Postpartum Psychosis which helps women and families affected by the illness.

Around 35 women a year in Northern Ireland experience postpartum psychosis.

However, the north does not have a specialist unit to help mothers and their babies.

Action on Postpartum Psychosis's chief executive, Dr Jessica Heron, said last month that the death of Belfast mother-of-three Orlaith Quinn shows the need for better understanding of the illness.

Mrs Quinn (33) from Lagmore near Dunmurry, died by suicide in the early hours of October 11 2018 at Belfast's Royal Jubilee Maternity hospital - two days after she gave birth to her third child.

Coroner Maria Dougan found that Mrs Quinn was suffering from postpartum psychosis at the time of her death.

She said Mrs Quinn's death was "both foreseeable and preventable".

Ms Dougan also recommended that a specialist mental health mother and baby unit should be set up in Northern Ireland.

Dr Heron said there is not enough awareness of postpartum psychosis amongst health staff and the general public.

"Around half of women who experience postpartum psychosis have experienced no prior mental illness," she said.

"Spotting the signs can be life-saving.

"If postpartum psychosis is diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately, women make a full recovery from this severe and life-threatening illness."

Partners and grandparents can also access Action on Postpartum Psychosis's online support groups.

For more information and to register for online support, visit www.app-network.org/peer-support