Oh Canada – the land of free healthcare!
While healthcare in Canada is free for citizens – and I wouldn’t want it any other way – it can be a challenge for mothers to find and access proper postpartum depression resources.
Obviously, speaking to a doctor would be the first step. But often, our family doctors, obstetricians or gynecologists were not our first choice, but rather, the ones with the shortest waiting list. It’s difficult to speak to someone about something as personal as postpartum depression when a strong relationship doesn’t exist.
For mothers in Canada, it’s important to have a list of postpartum depression resources we can access when we don’t get the answers we were looking for from our primary healthcare providers. Free healthcare doesn’t have to mean that our options are limited.
Here are a few different postpartum depression resources available to Canadians…
Postpartum Support International
PSI (postpartum.net) is perhaps one of the best postpartum depression resources available to women regardless of where you live. View their list of postpartum depression resources in Canada for contacts you can reach out to in each province. At the bottom of the page, you can get information for different support groups available in cities across Canada.
The PSI helpline is available to Canadians (and internationally). If you’re not sure where to begin on your journey to recovery, but simply know that you need help, calling this number is a great first step.
PSI Toll Free Helpline: 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)
A postpartum doula is a fairly newer trend in postpartum support. While many women hire doulas to help them through labor and delivery, a postpartum doula is specifically there to help you in the postpartum period. They will do anything that you need – from helping with the baby to cleaning the house and running errands. Even if you have the support of a spouse or family members, a trained doula comes with a ton of knowledge, both about newborn baby care and maternal mental health.
So if you’re struggling, or worried about getting through the postpartum period on your own – consider hiring a postpartum doula to help.
Where to Find a Postpartum Doula
The best places to find a postpartum doula near you is by searching the member directories on professional certification websites.
Doula Canada | doulatraining.ca
A Canadian organization that trains doulas and childbirth educators. They offer listings of doula practices by province.
CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association) | www.cappa.net
An international organization for doula training and certification. Check out their list of CAPPA certified postpartum doulas in Canada.
ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) | icea.org
A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators. Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas in Canada.
DONA International | www.dona.org
One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!
Online Support Groups
An online support group is a great resource for mothers suffering from postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders. There is something so freeing about chatting with a stranger, commenting on posts from women who feel exactly the same as you do, and being able to share any knowledge you’ve come across or support another mother who is struggling.
The Canadian Postpartum Depression Support Network on Facebook has over 600 members and is a very active group with extremely supportive members who comment on nearly every post almost immediately. There is a benefit to joining a specifically Canadian group, as the members can relate to the healthcare system and treatment options available. Join this group here.
Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group is a Facebook group run by Patricia Tomasi – maternal mental health writer for Huffington Post Canada. With over 1700 members, you’ll find great discussions and a very supportive group. Join this group here. You can also follow her Facebook page for lots of great information and articles about maternal mental health.
Postpartum Support International has their own Facebook group as well and it has well over 8,000 members. You are sure to get a response and lots of support from women all over the world who are struggling with maternal mental health issues. Join this group here.
Mother Matters is an 8 week online support group open to residents of Ontario. It is run by the Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital, and registration must be done in advance. Find out more here.
If you’re looking for a more specific group, simply search on Facebook groups for one. Once you find a group that’s the right fit, it can easily become one of your most treasured postpartum depression resources.
Provincial Crisis Hotlines
In addition to Postpartum Support International’s Helpline, there are several local crisis hotlines available throughout Canada.
A crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency or if you are contemplating suicide, hurting yourself or hurting someone else. The hotline operators are trained to handle emergency situations, especially those pertaining to mental health, so you can rest assured that they will understand what you are going through.
A local crisis hotline is one of the most important postpartum depression resources to keep nearby in case your mental health worsens suddenly. In the event that you need physical intervention or support, help can be dispatched immediately.
Visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention to locate the crisis centers in your province – suicideprevention.ca/need-help
A list of different crisis hotline numbers available by province can also be found on the Your Life Counts website –www.yourlifecounts.org
Counseling is an excellent treatment option for women with postpartum depression, however, there are many barriers to meeting with a counselor in person.
Some things that may discourage mothers from seeking face-to-face counseling:
- Difficulty finding a counselor that you feel comfortable talking to
- Unable to arrange childcare while attending sessions
- Unmotivated to leave the house for appointments
- Scheduling conflicts or a lack of extra time
- Fear of others finding out that you need counseling
Online counseling is a much better option for mothers with postpartum depression. Through sites such as Online Therapy and BetterHelp, mothers will be matched with a counselor based on their needs, and the sessions conveniently take place from the privacy of their own home.
Genetic Research Study
Mom Genes is a genetic research study being conducted in Canada by the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. (It’s also being run in several other countries by their own sponsors). They are currently trying to collect information from women who have postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. With this information, they will hopefully be able to find out the cause of postpartum depression as well as develop better programs and treatment options.
To take part in the study is very simple – it just requires downloading a free app. If you qualify, you’ll be asked to provide a DNA sample in the form of a saliva kit which will be mailed to you. In addition to contributing to this important study, the app provides postpartum depression resources, such as a tip of the week and important phone numbers.
Health & Wellness Products
Aside from anti-depressants, there are many all-natural and herbal supplements available that can help with the symptoms of postpartum depression.
A few popular products known to improve the overall mood and well-being of mothers with postpartum depression includes:
One of the best online sites to purchase health and wellness products in Canada is Well.ca. Whatever natural products you need for your own self-care routine and to help improve your mental health can be found here. Check out Well.ca’s Women’s Health Section to find all the products you’re currently using.
Aromatherapy has amazing health and mood-boosting benefits. There are so many different blends and oils available to treat specific symptoms and create a more positive environment. Learn more about how aromatherapy can benefit you.
Decent, Canadian, online shopping sites are surprisingly good postpartum depression resources because it’s difficult to find the motivation to leave the house to find the products we need for our own health.
Platforms to Spread Awareness
Postpartum depression is dark and ugly. It’s shocking and harsh and evil and all the bad things in the world. But it’s also something beautiful. It’s powerful and real and truthful. A postpartum depression story, when shared with the world, can change lives.
To see what I mean, check out some of the stories from brave sufferers and survivors of postpartum depression in The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories. Or read more from real moms in our 10 Questions About Postpartum Depression.
Are you ready to turn your postpartum depression story into something beautiful? Share it in the form of a guest post right here on Running in Triangles.
Here are some other platforms where you can share your postpartum depression story:
- Postpartum Support International – Tell Your Story (this is a good platform if you’ve ever used the services of PSI along your journey)
- Muddy Boots and Diamonds – Surviving the Darkness (share your story in the form of an interview. Read my interview here)
- I am 1 in 4 (share a story about your mental health journey to help raise awareness and break down the stigma. See my story here.)
- The Mighty (follow other sufferers of mental illness and submit your own story or poem about postpartum depression)
- YouTube (view postpartum depression stories that other moms have uploaded)
Or, consider starting your own blog! Mental health bloggers are doing some incredible things to help spread awareness and end the stigma by speaking up and sharing their stories. If you’re interested in learning how to start your own mental health blog, check out this tutorial: How to Start Blogging About Postpartum Depression.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t enough awareness about postpartum depression resources in Canada.
There are a few groups on Facebook that are working hard towards spreading awareness, including Maternal Mental Health Progress in Canada and Postpartum Depression Awareness and they’re definitely worth a follow.
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.