Women with postnatal depression need more help, urges MP Gavin Robinson's wife
The wife of a DUP MP has sent an open letter to the Health Minister calling for better mental health services for pregnant women and new mothers.
Lindsay Robinson (33) - wife of East Belfast MP Gavin and mum to Reuben, who turns three in September - is recovering from what she called the "living hell" of postnatal depression.
She considered taking her life in her darkest moments, only turning away because she did not want her son to grow up knowing his mother had killed herself.
Mrs Robinson, who has been married to the politician for five years, has recently become a leading voice in the campaign for better mental health services.
In her letter, she urged Health Minister Michelle O'Neill to fund a mother and baby unit where women in crisis can have inpatient treatment without being separated from their children.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where such a service is unavailable.
Mrs Robinson also called for better training to help medics recognise the signs of poor mental health, and for midwives and health visitors to be given more time with new mothers.
"A happy baby and a healthy mum go hand-in-hand," she said.
"Improving services is vital, and I'm going to fight as hard as I can to make sure this happens.
"I have been doing this a couple of months, and I have met so many affected women.
"I'm working with a few different groups and I'm also very much standing on my own two feet. I'm not going to rest until we see things change."
Mother-of-one Mrs Robinson was diagnosed with postnatal depression six months ago, although she first started to experience symptoms during her pregnancy.
Six weeks after her son was born, she confided in a GP, only to be told that such feelings were to be expected. "I wanted to die, and the only thing that stopped me was I didn't want Reuben to grow up with that stigma," she said.
Eventually, eight months ago, Mrs Robinson was seen by a sympathetic GP who diagnosed her with postnatal depression and later provided the MP's wife with a treatment plan. She is now finally on the road to recovery from the illness.