How can I help my friend

Hi everyone.

My friend had just been diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Baby is 7 days old and it all started almost straight away. So she's not been home yet.

I had pretty bad postnatal depression with my son but obviously this is worse.

Any this on what I can do, how I can help. Anything you wish your friends and family would or did do??

Thanks so much


8 Replies

  • Hello Scotlandfriend

    So pleased you have come to the forum on behalf of your friend. Here you will find lots of help and support in what is a worrying time for family and friends.

    This will be a frightening time for your friend but it's very good that she has had such an early diagnosis of PP. I had PP twice many years ago when I was 23 and 29. With good medical care and family support I eventually fully recovered, as your friend will.

    Will your friend be transferred to a mother and baby unit? It's very early days for her and she might not be aware of how ill she is. I was under general psychiatric care during my recovery and I was so ill that I didn't acknowledge my family and friends for quite a while. However, treatment is much better now and we all eventually recovered at our own pace, in our own time.

    There are APP Insider Guides available, i.e. "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and also a guide for partners. It might be too early for your friend to be able to read such a booklet at the moment. Perhaps as her friend you could read some of the contents to her?

    My family and friends were there for me, although as previously mentioned in my early days of recovery I wasn't aware anyone was around. I think this is all you can do at the moment until your friend's condition improves. Just keep talking to her and let her know how much she is loved. If family can also take pictures of the baby to record the very early days it will be a comfort to your friend.

    Try not to worry, your friend is in the best place right now and will eventually fully recover. Please remember to take care of yourself too as this is a very stressful time for everyone.

    We are all here to lean on.

  • Do all the things that a normal mum would do at that stage so she doesn't miss out. Lots of photos of mum&bub even if mum isn't well. Listen to her, even if she doesn't make sense, don't worry just listen. Keep a diary for the baby of milestones, feeds, doctors appointments, nurse checks, who the baby spent time with, so that when mum doesn't remember she doesn't feel that she missed out or 'no-one knows'

    Make sure the Dad has triple the support she has. He needs it to keep himself well in mind and body so that he can support his family through it all.

    Keep anything she asks you to. Just keep it safe. She may want to make sense of it in the years ahead.

    Treat her as a real person and a new mum, not as a psych patient

    Read "Day Six" by Jen Wight to understand it from the inside

  • Checkout another recent post titled "How to support" with 16 helpful replies

  • Thank you.

    She's in a mothe and baby unit and only immediate family at present. But I'm apparently the only one out with that she wants to see. Just not allowed yet.

    I'm going to mothercare to get her impression kits etc.

    I just wish I could do more


  • Hi so sorry to hear about your friend. It is good she is in a mother and baby unit, which is the best place for her to be.

    There's some great advice above.

    She is really going to need you. It is wonderful that she is asking for you, even in the midst of being very ill. I hope that you will be able to see her soon. I had one special friend who walked closely with me when I was at my most ill. From my experience practical help was so good - I remember her bringing really nice M&S ready meals a few times so we wouldn't need to cook. That meant a lot. Just being there.

    Please never hesitate to come on here with any questions or just for support X

  • My advice would be to make sure she is also eating and drinking healthily as the early days of being on medication can make you very hungry with the result that you over-eat and put a lot of weight on. I remember being weighed and I had put on 6lb in a week! I would have loved to have somebody to monitor this and bring me healthy snacks (and take away the crisps and shortbread) so I didn't end up feeling bad and have to deal with this when the depression phase kicked in on top of everything else. Because of the paranoia I had I also didn't drink properly so I would keep an eye on this as well especially if she is breast feeding. If she is in a Mother & Baby unit then she is in very good hands. I wish you all the best during this difficult time - as other people have said she will recover in time and you will find a lot of support here if you need it. X

  • Hi, thanks for posting on this, it's really great that you are thinking of your friend and wanting to help. I too had a really good friend who was there for me and a regular visitor to the MBU I was in, when I had PP 6 years ago.

    The bit about looking out for your friend's husband/ partner is really important too. I know my husband appreciated being able to talk to my friend who supported me so well. Sometimes we have different people who can do different things for us, and I really valued my friend as someone outside my immediate family, although she is pretty much family anyway really.

    What kind of things do you do together as friends, before she was ill and before she was a Mum? That would be really appreciated by her to do more of that, so your friendship really grows. For me, I loved reading the trashy mags my friend brought in the MBU and we also painted our nails and did girly things. Stuff that we did and had done for years. The idea of taking photos and noting your friend's baby's progress is lovely too. It will be a nice thing to share together. And when she gets home, there will be other things you can do for her.

    Above all, just be there for your friend as this will mean the world to her. Try to make sure you look after yourself too, it can be hard and quite traumatic almost for people around the woman who has PP as well as her. You are such a great friend, and I know that your friend will really value all you are doing for her. I hope you get to see her soon, feel free to pop back on here and let us know how you get on or if you have any more questions. Take care, xx

  • Hello Scotlandfriend

    Just wondering if your friend is home yet and whether you have been able to visit?

    Take good care.

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