Patricia Tomasi is a mom, maternal mental health advocate, journalist, and speaker. She writes regularly for the Huffington Post Canada and freelances for other publications as well, focusing primarily on maternal mental health after suffering from severe postpartum depression, twice.
In her role as an advocate, Patricia is a Patient Expert Advisor for the North American-based, Maternal Mental Health Research Collective that connects moms and moms-to-be with recruiting research studies. She successfully completed the B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority’s Journey to Perinatal Well being: eTools and Resources to Identify and Support Women with Perinatal Depression and Anxiety course and is the founder and manages the peer support Facebook Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group with over 1500 members worldwide.
One in five Canadians will be affected by a mental illness this year, and that includes pregnant and postpartum women who may develop a range of maternal mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
According to new guidelines released by the Government of Canada, depression affects about 10 per cent of women during pregnancy, and 20 to 40 per cent of women with a history of depression will suffer a relapse postpartum. Despite this, Canada does not recommend perinatal depression screening, while Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States all do.
- A national maternal mental health strategy.
- To screen all women for maternal mental health disorders from preconception to one year postpartum and even beyond. We need to talk about the symptoms not often spoken about including intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, heart palpitations, muscle tightness, brain fog, derealization, depersonalization and in some cases, delusional thinking, hallucinations, and psychosis.
- More training for health care providers from nurses to obstetricians, to family doctors, to midwives.
- More resources in every community in Canada to help women with a perinatal mood disorder in addition to medication such as therapy, support groups and a dedicated maternal mental health hospital wing with beds for mothers and their babies.
- Home care for mothers experiencing a severe mental illness to help with caring for the baby and household chores, not a nurse that comes and sits on your couch for an hour to confirm you have postpartum depression.
- To talk about how the current mental health movement is working backwards, and how failing to identify and adequately treat moms and moms-to-be with a maternal mental illness can have behavioural and psychological effects on their babies who grow up to be children with mental health issues who grow up to be adults with mental health issues.
- To start taking maternal mental health care seriously in Canada.
– Patricia Tomasi
Patricia is a former broadcast journalist with CFRB, CBC, CTV, and Global in Toronto, Vancouver, Timmins, and Thunder Bay. She also worked as a communications and media relations officer for the Ontario Ombudsman and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
If you are looking for non-judgmental peer support along your own maternal mental health journey, consider joining Patricia’s private Facebook Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support Group.
How to contact Patricia: