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Mental health and the midwife

02 June 2019
Volume 27 · Issue 6


Ensuring maternal mental wellbeing is now a priority in midwifery. But, as Claire Axcell writes, part of ensuring holistic care for the woman is protecting the mental health of her care-givers

At the time of writing, Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (29 April–3 May 2019) was being discussed and shared across social media and the press. Statistics about how childbearing women are vulnerable to mental health issues, how it affects 1 in 10 women and how it can range from mild to severe, were widely distributed. Mental health does not discriminate; it can affect anyone at any stage of life and from any background. I was one of those people and it was a very difficult experience.

Among the mass of the tweets about this, I then discovered the tragic news of the suicide of a student nurse. In the aftermath, Nursing Times reported that, in the past 7 years, there have been more than 300 reported suicides of nurses in the UK (Mitchell, 2019). It is well known that wards are under increasing pressure, and the number of nursing vacancies in the UK is a testament to how understaffed some hospitals are. Suicide among doctors is all too common; these bright energetic minds driven to drastic means. It says something when those who care for us are actually the most needing of care.

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