Emotional Health and Well-Being
Pregnant people, parents-to-be, people in the postpartum period, and new parents may experience many different emotions and feelings. These feelings can range from excitement and happiness to sadness and guilt. There are also times when these emotions can become so profound that a person can feel helpless, overwhelmed, or depressed. It is important to remember that bringing a baby into the world and becoming a parent are both big life changes! These feelings might be experienced at any time during pregnancy or within the first year after the birth of a baby or becoming a parent. Support during pregnancy, postpartum and new parenthood is key to helping with this transition.
Resources for Support and Mental Health during the Perinatal Period
We know that support comes in many forms: togetherness, community, family, or friends. While some pregnant and postpartum people and new parents may feel they have a full community of support around them, others may have fewer connections. Maybe you are new to Toronto or new to Canada. Either way, this is a time to say “yes” to support! Reaching out to friends, family and community programs are important ways to take care of yourself. Below are links to a range of services: from community based drop-in groups to structured mental health services, throughout the GTA, by neighbourhood, as well as emergency services.
If you or someone you care for is in acute emotional distress, there are phone resources that are dedicated to support and help. You can consider calling or sharing these numbers:
Distress Line (416) 408-HELP (4357) www.torontodistresscentre.com
24 hours a day – 7 days a week
Provides confidential 24-hour emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention to persons in distress. There is access to confidential interpreter for 151 languages.
The Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600 www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Provides information about mental health services in Ontario such as counselling and community services. Translation services available. Services are free, confidential, and anonymous.
Mobile Crisis Gerstein Crisis Centre www.gersteincentre.org
100 Charles St. East
Toronto, ON M4Y 1V3
Major Intersection: Bloor St. E. / Jarvis St.
(416) 929-5200 (crisis line)
(416) 929-9897 (referral)
- 24 hr Crisis Telephone Line
- 24 hr Mobile Crisis Service
- Short Stay Crisis Beds – Contact Gerstein on Bloor, 1045 Bloor St. West, (416) 604-2337
- Waitlist – none
- Interpretation: Through translation agencies
- Hours of service: 24-hr
While rare, there are times when a person who has recently given birth or become a new parent will have debilitating symptoms that require immediate attention. These symptoms usually appear after the birth, within a few days, and in most cases within the first 3 weeks:
- Severe depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts/fear of harming baby
- Mania or elevated mood
- Very agitated
- Unusual thoughts, problems with reality, paranoia
- Not sleeping or eating
- Strange behaviour
- Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (delusions or hallucinations)
If you notice any of these signs in yourself, in a friend or partner, it may be that seeking emergency services will best meet your needs. You may choose to call 911, or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health does have an emergency department, and you can find out more at this link:
Written Resources on Perinatal Mental Health and Postpartum Mood Disorders
Baby Blues and Beyond: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Perinatal Mental Health Issues
Life With a New Baby Is Not Always What You Expect
Postpartum Mood Disorders
Emotional Health During Pregnancy
Resources for Health Care Providers
Evidence Brief: Exploring Interventions to Address Perinatal Mental Health in a Public Health Context
Tear-off for Clinic: Life With a New Baby Is Not Always What You Expect
Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Disorders in the Perinatal Period