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Postnatal Depression


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Hi everyone,

 

I was hoping someone could advise me how I should proceed with the following. Every Friday I attend Uni, so my deputy telephones me every frid evening with an update.

 

We have a member of staff who is due to return from maternity leave in June (this is after having 12months leave), she is still completing her NVQ and attends the session on a Friday (for the morning session) to remain in the loop, carry on with her studies etc, she is counted in the ratio.

 

During the morning setting up she started to put out the children's trays, this is usually left until last until the rest of the hall is set up. The deputy asked her to leave the trays and help set up the rest of the hall, she became very flustered and asked 'well what do you want me to do' deputy said to have a look at the planning and see what areas she could help set up, which she did, she then became very tearful and confided in the Deputy she thinks she might be postnatally depressed, the deputy asked her to see her doctor and keep us informed, this was all done in confidence and in a sympathetic manner;

What i need to know is where we stand now, what if she doesnt go to the doctor, is she safe to be working with the children, what if she is prescribed anti depressants, can she work under medication, do we delay her return, do we need to see evidence that she has been to the doctor.

 

My main concerns are 1. a duty of care to her and 2. safeguarding issues for the children

~Any advice would be appreciated

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As someone who has suffered from serious depression both post natal and other, and someone who has employed staff with mental health issues, I would say that rather than taking a blanket decision you need to look at the person specifically and then risk assess (even though I hate that term!). If she is capable of carrying out her job role without concerns becoming apparent to you or your deputy then I would argue she is able to continue to work. However it is important in my opinion to keep very clear channels of communication open with her so you can

1 support her

2 ensure the safety of your children and their families

 

By keeping communication open she will hopefully feel able to talk to you about how she feels on an ongoing basis and you will be able to raise concerns about behaviour without it coming to a crisis point. Because of my past I know that for some people being able to continue with some part of their life as they would do normally can be very helpful, a sort of a release from the pressures they feel otherwise. Her experience could also help future families at the setting too as, for example, I feel I am more able to spot warning signs sometimes than others having been there, done that. Her medication, should she have some, may adversely affect her, it may not. But if she feels she can talk to you openly she may be more likely to be honest with you and more willing to accept comments you may have to make about her ability to carry out her role in the short term.

 

I think it has been commented on, on this site before that if every EY worker with some history of depression were to be refused a job in EY we might all be out of a job! Slight exaggeration but given the prevalance of depression in today's society and the number of childcare workers who have also had young children of their own, lots of us have had experience of it before.

 

Hope all this makes sense - feel I might have rambled slightly!

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My question relates to your insurance, if she is on maternity leave is she insured to be working?

 

All other issues are between her and her doctor at the moment.

 

The Friday's are classed as 'keeping in touch days' of which she has 10, I understand that this is part of the maternity allowance, to ensure that women returning after a years maternity are kept up to date with what has been happening within the setting, she arranged with us to do the Friday's and yes our insurance does cover her.

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As someone who has suffered from serious depression both post natal and other, and someone who has employed staff with mental health issues, I would say that rather than taking a blanket decision you need to look at the person specifically and then risk assess (even though I hate that term!). If she is capable of carrying out her job role without concerns becoming apparent to you or your deputy then I would argue she is able to continue to work. However it is important in my opinion to keep very clear channels of communication open with her so you can

1 support her

2 ensure the safety of your children and their families

 

By keeping communication open she will hopefully feel able to talk to you about how she feels on an ongoing basis and you will be able to raise concerns about behaviour without it coming to a crisis point. Because of my past I know that for some people being able to continue with some part of their life as they would do normally can be very helpful, a sort of a release from the pressures they feel otherwise. Her experience could also help future families at the setting too as, for example, I feel I am more able to spot warning signs sometimes than others having been there, done that. Her medication, should she have some, may adversely affect her, it may not. But if she feels she can talk to you openly she may be more likely to be honest with you and more willing to accept comments you may have to make about her ability to carry out her role in the short term.

 

I think it has been commented on, on this site before that if every EY worker with some history of depression were to be refused a job in EY we might all be out of a job! Slight exaggeration but given the prevalance of depression in today's society and the number of childcare workers who have also had young children of their own, lots of us have had experience of it before.

 

Hope all this makes sense - feel I might have rambled slightly!

 

Thankyou for your reply, it goes without saying that we will support her through this, I just wanted to ensure that their wasnt any specific safeguarding legislation pertaining to depression, as I am also the settings child protection co-ordinator. I havent found anything on any official sites to suggest their was, however I recall from my own suitable person interview I had to complete a medical questionnaire, which asked about depression, eating disorders and medication I was taking or had taken.

 

I will speak with her on Monday and see how she feels about continuing on Friday's or what we can do to support her.

 

~Claire

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I've filled that form in too and they just checked all details with dr and then passed me. I wasn't actively suffering then or taking medication but I guess if they felt you had taken all possible precautions they would commend you for supporting her too. Well, I'd like to think so anyway!

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I don't think you need to worry if she is safe.

 

Just give her lots of support and boost her self esteem. Coming into your setting and feeling normal and capable could be exactly what she needs.

 

Do encourage her to ask for help.

 

This website is run by a friend of mine and might help her

 

http://www.mothersvoice.org.uk/

 

You need to talk to her about whether she feels ready to return.

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Thanks Upsy Daisy, will save the link and pass it on. I have had a really good chat to her this eveing, and we have arranged for her to come in for one hour on Friday, she did say alongside PND, she is feeling her confidence is low, so will be supporting her with this also.

 

Claire x

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too suffered with pND with my 2nd child and could have really used someone who took the time and trouble you appear to be, in getting it right :)

Now I am in early years I can see both sides and of course you have to safeguard but i agree with previous posts that the case must be looked at in context and its not for anyone else to judge.

I found support bothe professional and personal did much more than tablets ever did, but each to their own.

For me mother and baby group, in particular my breasfeeding group which i went on to help run....made the difference and gave me that contact with other mums that lifted me - I'm sure your setting knows where she could go to.

Webbster-stratton might help with confidence as a parent (it is not just for 'problem' parents in any way) or other classes run by Sure Start...ours have specific group for PND...is there anything locally??

 

Just a thought ot 2

 

Best wishes to all

 

Lucie

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Many Children's Centres have groups which could help to support parents with PND, but rarely have that title as most people don't want to be labelled like this. An informal no-names chat with the CC may at least inform you of support you could gently suggest to her

As an employer, you need to show you have been supportive, so asking her to do just 1 hour seems good.

Good luck, you sound like a supportive person anyway

Gruffalo2 :o

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