Maternal Mental Health: Where to Find Help in Malta.

by Dr. Edith Agius

The personal journey a woman takes during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood is unique to her. The perinatal period refers to the time when a woman is pregnant and the first year following the birth of the baby. This period can be the most challenging or rewarding experience in a woman’s life and during this time it is common that women and their partners experience different emotions.

A lot of mixed emotions about your pregnancy and your baby may start to arise during the antenatal period and continue throughout the perinatal stage. You may experience feelings of worry, tiredness and stress which are related to these new circumstances. This is a normal feeling and a period of adjustment is to be expected. While coping with the physical changes during pregnancy, birth and beyond, it is important to care for your mental health too.

Maternal mental health problems are more common than physical health issues in pregnancy as they affect up to 20% of pregnant women. After birth, 50-80% of women encounter the postnatal Blues. Some women may feel anxious, depressed and upset. This is quite common, but if such emotions do not resolve themselves within the first 2 weeks and you start to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, it’s time to seek help.

At times, women experience intense feelings of sadness, anxiety or despair and these could be signs of Postpartum Depression. It can start anytime within the first year of postpartum and it usually lasts several weeks or months. If left untreated, it can last up to 2 years.

If you are pregnant or within the first year postpartum, you can call the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital on 2545 7410 or 7970 1767.

What the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic offers:
  • We aim to contact everyone within a week of referral and offer the first contact appointment within two weeks or sooner if it is urgent.
  • We can listen to your worries and guide you to the appropriate care.
  • We offer Psychiatric care and Psychotherapy.
  • We offer support and help you with your difficulties.
  • You are welcome to come with your partner or a trusted friend but it is also welcomed if you prefer to come alone.

You can also follow our NGO on Facebook: Parent-Infant Mental Health Alliance. Our purpose is to give voice to the needs of pregnant women, infants, their families and their healthcare providers so that collectively we can have the greatest positive impact on perinatal care in Malta. We encourage all the new parents to become members of this NGO by paying an annual membership fee. By joining the NGO, you will be eligible to attend free support group and attend seminars and conferences at reduced prices.

If you are not pregnant or more than one year postpartum, you can call the Community Mental Health Clinic to book an appointment depending on your home address. This also applies for fathers who are struggling with parenthood. You will be asked to get a referral ticket by your GP before getting an appointment with our specialised community  mental health teams.

  • Mtarfa- 21454917 / 21456758
  • Mosta / Qawra- 21422969 / 79266325
  • Qormi- 21441317 / 21440170
  • Floriana- 21220454 / 21250015
  • Cospicua- 2397 2330 / 21662 088
  • Paola – 21821566 / 21821562
maternal mental health

Dr Edith Agius, graduated as a Doctor in Medicine & Surgery from the University of Malta in 2014. She is currently specialising in Psychiatry and is reading a Masters in Perinatal Mental Health with Sheffield Hallam University. Currently, she is working at the Mosta Community Mental Health Clinic and the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital.  Her main areas of interest are general adult and perinatal psychiatry. She is a committee member and serves the PRO role in the Parent-Infant Mental Health Alliance NGO and founder of the Instagram page Reproductive Psychiatry.

For more expert advice on maternal and general mental health support and more, check out our Island Experts section.

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