Following our last article on identifying mental health problems during and after pregnancy,  Occupational Therapist Katiso, gives us much needed insight on who to contact  in the public and private sector and some Postpartum Depression preventative measures. 

If you have been diagnosed with postpartum depression or if you suspect that you may have postpartum depression, where can you seek professional help? 

  • Private mental health institutions (Akeso, Vista clinic – 21-day program/out-patient program) 
  • Private psychiatrist/psychologist – private practices in and around South Africa 
  • Public mental health institutions/departments – local clinics that may have a mental health team or refer you to a clinic with one. Several Johannesburg district clinics have mental health programs/departments. Public hospitals that have mental health departments (i.e. Helen Joseph, Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, depending on one’s catchment area)

Which healthcare professionals provide treatment interventions for postpartum depression or maintaining good mental health during pregnancy and postpartum? 

  • Psychiatrist/Psychiatric Registrar – diagnosis and treatment using pharmaceutical medication  
  • Psychologist – Provide counselling, psychotherapy and family or couples therapy. 
  • Registered Counsellor – Provide counselling, and family or couples therapy
  • Occupational Therapist – Assist in providing a good quality of life, improving daily functioning, providing reasonable accommodations, coping skills and stress/anxiety management techniques through the use of activities. Enhancing your role as a mother and improving self-worth/ self-esteem (motherhoodot.net, 2023)
  • Social worker – Can assist with the social stressors (the partner who does not want to pay child maintenance, assist with applications for child dependency grant, provide family therapy/couples therapy, domestic violence etc.) 

Having said this, how can postpartum depression be prevented, or how can the mental health state during pregnancy and postpartum be protected? 

  • Being aware of your feelings and seeking professional help as soon you notice anything wrong 
  • Reduce the amount of time spent on social media; also understand that not everything portrayed on social media is a true reflection of the world. 
  • Have a sound support system from loved ones. 
  • Delegation of tasks 
  • Ask for help when you are struggling. 
  • Eating healthy 
  • Exercise 
  • Express how you feel, confide in someone you trust 
  • Have time to do all the things that bring you joy – leisure activities. 
  • Try to get enough rest.
  • Play and engage with your child as much as possible. 
  • Plan during your pregnancy but leave room for changing circumstances. 

Know that we see you, hear you, and are here for you!

Article by: 

Katiso Ndumo 

Occupational Therapist (Mental Health) 

OT0101796 

Public sector (Jhb metro district clinic – mental health)