Chris’s story (Huddersfield)
After my partner Joe suffered several miscarriages, we feared we would never be able to have a baby. But in 2010 we were delighted to welcome our beautiful daughter into the world.
Joe was determined to be the perfect mother, but when she struggled to breastfeed, it led to feelings of severe anxiety and extreme failure.
A month after giving birth, Joe admitted she was having suicidal thoughts and was diagnosed with severe postnatal depression.
She begged to be hospitalised, but home treatment was considered the best option. It wasn’t, because a few weeks later she took her own life.
The warning signs had been documented in her medical notes, but at no point was Joe referred to a perinatal psychiatric service specialist. I had also been given no information about how I should care for her.
Campaign for better services
We had been failed by the system and in 2013 the NHS finally admitted in court to a breach in their duty to care. If Joe had been admitted for treatment to a specialist unit she would have been expected to make a full recovery.
Adequate perinatal psychiatric services are still not available across the country and more investment is needed to change this. No one should have to go through the same suffering we did.
Since Joe’s death, I’ve set up a charity and campaigned for better services that would have saved her life. We need to focus on educating people about postnatal depression and make sure that everyone who needs it has access to the appropriate treatment.