08/07/2013 18:26 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Postpartum mental health calls up after Winnipeg tragedy

A mental-health resource centre in Winnipeg has been fielding more calls than usual about postpartum depression following the deaths of Lisa Gibson and her two children.

The body of Gibson, 32, was recovered from the Red River on July 28, days following the deaths of her two-year-old daughter Anna and three-month-old son Nicholas.

The children had been found by emergency responders clinging to life in a bathtub in the Gibson home. They later died in hospital.

Winnipeg police have said postpartum health issues are part of their investigation.

The Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba has been getting five to 10 calls a day — far more than usual — since the Gibson story made news headlines.

Beau Sweatman, the association's volunteer co-ordinator and outreach worker, said the influx of calls coincided with updates on the Gibson case.

"I mean, after her body was found in the river, I think I got five postpartum calls within the first half-hour of getting in," he said.

"There's a vigil on Thursday.… On Friday we got, again, five or six calls within the first hour of us opening. It's a dramatic increase."

Sweatman said the number of calls is encouraging, adding that inquiries about postpartum mental health issues are coming from both men and women.

Nina Condo, who offers support to immigrant women, said two mothers came forward in recent weeks, saying they were struggling to cope as new mothers in a new home.

Both mothers are now receiving help, Condo said.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said it's difficult to gauge whether there has been an increase in the number of women seeking medical treatment related to postpartum issues.

Officials said there have been some calls to Health Links, Manitoba Health's telephone information service, but they are unable to track visits to family doctors, public health nurses and walk-in clinics.