The heart-wrenching question: Why are parents left to navigate the treacherous waters of postpartum depression in isolation?


 In a world grappling with the complexities of mental health, the recent buzz surrounding the FDA approval of a "new pill" for postpartum depression certainly raises eyebrows. Is it a miracle cure for postpartum depression, or another band-aid front line treatment? Delving into the heart of the matter, our perspective is one that champions the need and use of medication but also demanding society to consider a crucial element often overlooked: social support.


Pharmacological interventions have undeniably carved their place in the mental health landscape, promising a lifeline to those seeking relief from the grips of psychopathology. Yet, as we navigate the intricate labyrinth of mental well-being, we must remain steadfast in acknowledging both the capabilities and the limitations of these interventions.


While it's true that General Practitioners (GPs) frequently turn to medication, with antidepressants being a common prescription, can the human mind and its complexities be easily compartmentalised into biochemical equations?


In December 2015, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists published a comprehensive set of mood disorder clinical practice guidelines for psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health professionals. The guidelines emphasise a biopsychosocial lifestyle approach, and states that ‘Alongside or before prescribing any form of treatment, consideration should be given to the implementation of strategies to manage stress, ensure appropriate sleep hygiene and enable uptake of healthy lifestyle changes. The full guidelines can be read here;( ).


Australia's high per capita antidepressant use paints a startling picture of a society grappling with mental health challenges. However, it is essential to highlight that medication should not stand as a solitary sanctuary. Here's where the pivotal question arises: why aren’t we championing the importance of social supports?


Cost barriers often ensnare those seeking help, leading to delayed treatment and heightened suffering. Additionally, attrition rates and side effects loom as ominous hurdles that individuals must contend with on their healing journey. It's a landscape painted with shades of complexity and nuance, a far cry from the magical solution that some might perceive medication to be.


Enter the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ clinical practice guidelines— a beacon of wisdom that beckons toward a holistic approach. It underscores the necessity of integrating lifestyle changes, psychological therapy, patient education, and social support into the fabric of mental health interventions. This shift towards a biopsychosocial approach represents an acknowledgement that the human experience is intricate, and its healing requires a tapestry of interconnected threads.


It is crucial to remember that advocating for medication doesn't mean forsaking other essential pillars of healing. Patients' perspectives underscore the multidimensional nature of mental health. They express discomfort with being reduced to mere "biochemical deficits," emphasising the empowerment that comes with psychological therapy, education, and yes, social support.


This brings us to the heart-wrenching question: Why are mothers and parents left to navigate the treacherous waters of postpartum depression in isolation? The birth of a new life should usher in a wave of community, care, and shared responsibility. Instead, the new postpartum targeted pill can inadvertently become a veil, obscuring the pressing need for genuine support systems that extend far beyond a prescription, although prescription medication certainly has its place.


More and more clinical studies of Mind Body practices like Yoga, are revealing that a regular yoga practice could be as effective, if not more, than certain antidepressants! According to this study here; (, adults with mild-to-moderate major depression experienced statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression severity after participating in an 8-week hatha yoga intervention. This revelation is a testament to the multifaceted nature of healing, presenting an alternative route that harnesses the power of the mind-body connection. It's a reminder that interventions go beyond a single modality, encapsulating the richness of human experience. Mental health treatment needs a multidisciplinary support and requires societal change.


In a world eager to embrace pharmaceutical solutions, we must remember that our quest for mental well-being should be marked by diversity, inclusion, and a keen awareness of individual needs. Medication is a vital tool, but it shouldn't be wielded in isolation. As a society we need to be harmonising medication with unwavering social support and echoing the sentiment that no one should walk this journey alone.


Asha Holborow
Mindful Birth ®
Manager | Lead Educator

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