Carla O’Reilly. Photo Submitted

Sylvan Lake Early Childhood Coalition offers maternal mental health event

The event will feature Moose Jaw author and maternal mental wellness advocate Carla O’Reilly

The Sylvan Lake Early Childhood Coalition has partnered with maternal mental wellness advocate and author Carla O’Reilly to provide an evening focused on mental health.

On April 3 O’Reilly will speak at the Alliance Church about her triumph over postpartum psychosis, and hopes her story will bring hope to other women possibly going through the same or similar situation.

“I want to provide hope to women, to let them know they aren’t alone,” O’Reilly said.

She says the talk on April 3 will hopefully provide the women of Sylvan Lake a way to being healing along with the hope and knowledge that they are not alone in their experience.

O’Reilly was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis 15 years ago after the birth of her son. Postpartum psychosis is described as a rare mental illness with the patient often experiencing moments of mania, depression, hallucinations and paranoia, with symptoms setting roughly two weeks after child birth.

She said when she was diagnosed postpartum psychosis was unknown and there was a greater stigma surrounding postpartum depression.

She quietly suffered for eight months before checking into a clinic. During the four years she battled the condition she said she had suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Through her public talks, like the one at the Alliance Church, advocating and keynote events at medical conferences, O’Reilly hopes to see the stigma around maternal health lessen until it no longer exists.

“I hope this will get the ball rolling in Sylvan Lake about maternal mental health and get people talking.”

Her talk at the Alliance Church will cover what she calls important factors to help women recover from postpartum.

Her presentation is called “Turn on the Switch,” which is also the name of her latest book set to be released this spring, and is an acronym for the “15 wellness tools that helped transform her life.”

“What it comes down to is finding a passion, positive thinking and a general understanding of health,” O’Reilly explained, adding support groups are a great resource for women.

O’Reilly says she wants women who are suffering, or who know other who are suffering, that they are not alone in the fight and that they can “get out of the darkness.”

“You are not alone, [perinatal mood disorders] are normal. I’d like women to know they can be their own advocate, and to get the help they need.”

O’Reilly’s Turn on the Switch discussion in on April 3 at the Alliance Church, and she will also be speaking in in Innisfail the following day.

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