The “Climb Out of the Darkness” event is organized by two nonprofit organizations as an awareness hike for postpartum depression. The annual event takes place in various locations all around the US.
The hike is a symbol of the path a woman has to go from the maternal mental disturbance to health and happiness.
The date of the event is set to be near the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, as another invitation for contemplation.
The awareness hike is two miles long, and everyone is invited, from toddlers to middle-agers. This year, the Spanish Fork event had a couple of hundreds of participants. The vast majority of them knew a mother that was affected by postpartum depression.
The event is a sign of solidarity with the victims. It also wants to draw attention to the dangers of mental health issues in mothers.
The perinatal mood disorders include depression during pregnancy, postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. They can occur during the first year after the birth.
The symptoms of the postpartum depression list feelings of sadness, crying, intense anxiety, loss of interest, feelings of guilt, irritability, fatigue, change in sleep habits and appetite, feelings of inadequacy, and even suicidal thoughts.
The mental health disturbances can even go as further as turning into psychosis, including symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking.
An important step in dealing with postpartum depression is to help women to open up on their difficulties and to support them in finding the correct treatment option.
Mothers do not need to stop breastfeeding while being treated for mood disorders. The treatment can include psychotherapy or medications that do not affect their milk.
Women can feel that getting treatment may interfere with nursing, which not true and may be interpreted as a sign of depression, the tendency to self-neglect.
One of the organizers of the event is The Emily Effect Foundation, which was created by one of the PPD victim’s husband. Emily lost her life in February after an anxiety attack made her exit the car in the middle of the Interstate 15.
The foundation aims to raise awareness of perinatal mood disorders and to fight the social stigma faced by the affected mothers, who have to deal with harsh prejudices while trying to adapt to a new status.
The awareness hike was organized in other five cities from Utah, and the Postpartum Progress Association encourages everyone in the world to participate by creating hikes in their own region. The only condition is for the hikes to be registered in order to be accounted as part of the association’s work for raising awareness.
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