204 - Hormonal changes and mental health: maternal mental health awareness

The Dr Louise Newson Podcast

May 16 2023 • 30 mins

Advisory: this podcast contains themes of mental health and suicide.

Earlier this month Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week was marked across the UK. In this week’s episode Emma Hammond, an employment lawyer specialising in advising women who have experienced discrimination due to the menopause, generously shares her own story.

After a traumatic birth with her first child, Emma developed serious symptoms, including psychosis and not sleeping or eating, that ultimately led to medication and hospitalisation. While she wanted a second child, her periods stopped and she was told she was perimenopausal – but an unexpected development took place soon after she was admitted to a mental health hospital.

Here she and Dr Louise talk about the powerful role of hormones in women during pregnancy, birth and perimenopause, and how hormones can be overlooked by healthcare professionals caring for women struggling with their mental health.

This podcast follows an earlier episode with Emma where she talked about her career, and offered advice on menopause in the workplace.

Emma’s three tips:

  1. See your GP promptly if you are struggling with your mental health and don’t think you can fix everything yourself
  2. Be honest and open with your family and friends about what you are going through so that they can support you
  3. Think about life changes and holistic approaches as well as hormonal treatments or medication.

Read more about Emma here.

Contact the Samaritans for 24-hour, confidential support by calling 116 123.

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