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How Journalism Can Defuse the Shame of Mental Illness

Coverage of maternal mental health seems to be increasing.
 
That a publication dedicated to couture and beauty has delved into a gritty topic beyond the comfort zone of at least some faithful readers—that’s progress.
The story is solid. It’s encouraging to see well-known experts quoted, including Dr. Jon Abramowitz, a key source for my book and chapter on postpartum OCD.
I like that there’s a mention of the movement to rephrase the way we discuss postpartum mental illness—though the parentheses should be removed. It’s no small matter, and something I talk about in my book.
 
In a world frequently ashamed of mental illness, our words carry great weight—they’re powerful enough to defuse the shame. Postpartum depression is but one of several perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Each deserves time, attention, and for practitioners, training.
The Vogue editors would do well to consider a series on PMADs: cover the different disorders, one at a time, with parent and expert interviews and stories. That’s how journalism can help diminish the shame associated with mental illness, with continued, in-depth coverage.
 
 

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