Carbonear walk will raise awareness of post-partum risks

By Chad Feehan / Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Carbonear has joined communities across the country hosting walks to raise money and awareness for perinatal mental health.
Flora’s Walk Fundraiser for Perinatal Mental Health began in Barrie, Ontario in 2022 after Toronto woman Flora Babakhani died by suicide following a period of undetected postpartum psychosis.
Sarah Harnum, the co-organizer of the Carbonear chapter, said the walk there will begin on the boardwalk at 2 p.m. Saturday.
She says the walk was started to fundraise for initiatives to support perinatal mental health efforts across the country to address some of the gaps in service and to provide resources to people suffering from postpartum mood disorders or anxiety.
“Suicide is one of the top five reasons why post-partum women die, perinatal mental health (issues) account for a large proportion of maternal mortality following delivery,” Harnum said.
Lack of access to services and supports is one of the main barriers to perinatal mental health in the province, which is at a higher rate of incidents than the national average, she added.
While some supports do exist, Harnum said, they can be at capacity with a long waiting list.
“When you’re talking about something like postpartum psychosis you need to have that immediate care available to address it because it is an emergency when it comes up,” she said.
Harnum said postpartum depression affects a large portion of the population, and can have long term consequences for families. Men are affected by perinatal mood disorders as well, she noted.
“You’re going to see the downstream consequences of that and a lack of quality of life that goes along with having these moods disorders that are interrupting your ability to carry out your activities in everyday life, that are affecting your ability to bond with your child, that are affecting your happiness when it comes along with the very brief period of time when they are small,” Harnum said.
Increasing awareness is important, she argued, because of the tendency of people to brush symptoms off as outcomes of everyday life.
“We’re trying to connect people with the resources they need and the support they need to move through them so they can get to the other side and heal,” said Harnum.

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