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The Benefits of Online Support for Postpartum Depression

written by: Debbie Roome • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 5/29/2011

Many new mothers have found online support groups for postpartum depression to be a great help. Read on to find out how these groups work and how they benefit mothers.

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    What are Online Support Groups?

    There are a large number of postpartum depression online support groups that women can freely access. Some are run by professional medical bodies while others are overseen by mothers who have recovered from postpartum depression and want to help others through it. Still others are run as charities. Features of an online support group commonly include the following:

    • Discussion forums where mothers can ask questions and contribute to online conversations
    • A daily email with an encouraging message for the depressed mom
    • Online chat facilities whereby they can speak with a medical expert
    • Information on postpartum depression and the various types of treatment available
    • Links to recommended medical specialists who are experienced in treating postpartum depression
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    How do Online Support Groups Operate?

    By their nature, online support groups for postpartum depression tend to attract members from around the world. This means that no matter what time of day or night, there is bound to be someone online. A young depressed mother may be struggling with deep feelings of sadness while doing a midnight feed. An online support group can be accessed on a laptop and the woman can chat while feeding baby. Valuable information can be gained by sharing experiences with other women and sometimes an understanding ear can make all the difference. Most groups are free of charge although there is a link on some homepages for those who wish to contribute to the running costs.

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    How Can Support Groups Help?

    Life with a newborn is difficult and time consuming. Feeds, bath times and diaper changes merge into a never ending cycle and the mother is often exhausted. Add postpartum depression to the mix and a woman will often lack the energy and motivation to venture out of her home. Knowing that support is available by clicking onto a website can be comforting and reassuring. Other advantages to online support groups include the following:

    • While postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of, some women are embarrassed by it and feel guilty. This may mean that they prefer to seek help anonymously. They will have a user name on the site which protects their identity from other users.
    • Knowing there is virtually no chance of meeting the people she is chatting to online can give a woman freedom to share deep feelings and problems. In return, she will usually receive wise advice and comfort from other members.
    • Postpartum depression online support is focused around what a new mother is experiencing. This means that the woman often gets more help and understanding than she would from friends who are not familiar with the condition.

    If handled correctly and used as a back up to expert medical treatment, online postpartum depression groups can be a lifeline to depressed moms in their time of need.

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    References

    Daily Strength http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Post-Partum-Depression/support-group

    Online PPMD http://postpartumdepression.yuku.com/

    Postpartum Progress http://postpartumprogress.org/

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