The pressure to be perfect keeps many Utah moms silent about mental health

When Kennedi Arlt became pregnant with her first child in the summer of 2019, she was excited. Then the pandemic hit “and everything just went out the window,” she said.

Between lockdowns and rising case numbers, her mental health deteriorated while caring for her newborn.

Arlt is one of many mothers who have struggled through the perinatal period, which is during or just after pregnancy. According to Utah, between 2017 and 2019, 42.8% of Utah residents who recently had a live birth reported experiencing depression or anxiety Pregnancy Risk Assessment Surveillance System Report 2021.

Despite the spread, Arlt remained silent.

“I was very embarrassed that I was so depressed,” she said, “because moms, especially here in Utah, are all happy.”

According to Brook Dorff, a public information officer for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, stigma is rampant in the state, and that keeps many mothers from speaking out about their mental health issues.

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This article is published by the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of Utah news organizations dedicated to educating readers across the state. The pressure to be perfect keeps many Utah moms silent about mental health

Joel McCord

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