85% of mums suffer from anxiety or other mental health issues, new stats reveal

New research has revealed 85% of mums have seen their mental health suffer [Photo: Getty]

Worrying new figures have revealed that 85 per cent of mums say they have suffered from some form of anxiety or mental health issue while pregnant or since becoming a mother.

As many new mums will likely testify pregnancy and motherhood can have a huge impact on mental health. But a new survey by parenting site ChannelMum has thrown a light on the extent of the problem.

Though more than three quarters of all mums say their mental wellbeing has been impacted, more than half were never warned this could happen.

A third of mums have suffered at least one panic attack and more than a quarter of these have had multiple stress-related episodes.

Worryingly, 23 per cent have had a panic attack when their child was present.

The results also revealed that the worry about their mental health was compounding the issue with two in five mums fearing they would be judged for having panic attacks, while a quarter worry their children could be taken away if they admit to suffering.

To raise awareness of mental health issues, such as panic attacks, in pregnancy and motherhood, ChannelMum released a video of mum Sophie Mei Lan who was suffering a panic attack while her children played nearby.

In the minute-long video, the mum-of-two broke down in tears.

“I just don’t want to be here, I just can’t cope,” she said.

Despite being distraught Sophie, from Wakefield, managed to film the episode to show other parents what the frightening disorder looks like.

Sophie said: “I wanted to show what mental illness can be like – warts and all.

“Some people may find it strange I picked up my phone, but it shows real life at its most ugly and raw.

“Filming this clip has been therapeutic for me because on paper I am successful, and I look normal.

”I have a loving family, friends, a home and children and yet I still experience severe mental illnesses as it doesn’t discriminate.”

In the video, blogger Sophie puts on a brave face and tells the children she is ill, to explain away her streaked make-up and tears.

According to the survey half of mums who suffer from panic attacks try to hide them and have never told anyone they suffer.

The most common trigger for panic attacks is feeling ‘I can’t cope’, suffered by almost half of mums reporting attacks, alongside 37 per cent who fear ‘I’m not a good enough mum’.

The most experienced symptoms include being unable to breathe, suffered by seven in ten and 63 per cent who broke down crying uncontrollably.

Three in five describe the feeling as ‘overwhelming dread’ with 22 per cent even contemplating suicide.

“Panic attacks are hard to control or predict,” Sophie added. “They can happen out of the blue or if I feel tired, ill, upset or like I have let someone down.

“When I have an attack, I’m engulfed in a toxic mixture of guilt and feeling overwhelmed.

“I want to be in the present for my children for them but sometimes it’s hard and I feel like I’ve failed them.

“I’m responsible for looking after my children so I can’t walk out and get help – which all mums will recognise.

“The attack has to pass and filming it will help others realise that your attack will eventually end.”

Commenting on the topic of mums suffering panic attacks ChannelMum.com psychologist Emma Kenny said: “Anxiety attacks are absolutely terrifying for the person experiencing them.

“They can leave you feeling helpless and out of control with both physical symptoms and frightening thoughts.

“But you can begin to manage them and control them with the right support and mental health training.”

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