Monthly Archives March 2016

Everyone Can Be an Advocate!

Joy Burkhard

Together We Can Change the Face of Maternal Mental Health Care
Joy Burkhard, MBA

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

At 2020 Mom, our name reflects one overarching goal: to close the gaps in maternal mental health (MMH) by the year 2020. Given what you’ve read in previous posts about the state of care, this may seem like an ambitious deadline, but we believe it is possible.

As a nonprofit maternal mental health advocacy organization, 2020 Mom is dedicated to offering tangible steps stakeholders can take to effect change. Since we launched in California in 2011, we’ve seen a groundswell begin to bubble up nationally. Providers, insurers, and health care systems are starting to recognize the magnitude of the gap in care when it comes to maternal mental health because of the work so many are doing.

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How Legislation Can Change the Face of Perinatal Mental Health

MA State Representative Ellen Story and U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark
with introductions by Dr. Nancy Byatt

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

Nancy Byatt: If we truly want to fix the state of perinatal mental health care in this country, a collaborative effort is essential. Achieving universal care will take the collective input of many different players – people with lived experience, providers, insurance companies, advocates, legislators, and more.

While every avenue of advancement is important, adopting legislation is a crucial piece of the puzzle; it’s the only way we can ensure pregnant and postpartum women get the care they need.

In Massachusetts, legislative efforts have been the foundation for the success of MCPAP for Moms. This is due in large part to MA Rep. Ellen Story, author of the 2010 Massachusetts Postpartum Depression legislation and co-chair of the Postpartum Depression (PPD) Commission. The Commission offers recommendations on PPD policy to the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health and Mental Health (MDPH and DMH), which in turn funds MCPAP for Moms. Representative Story has been instrumental in helping Massachusetts become a leader in the field of perinatal mental health care.

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Mental Health Support for Moms Is as Close as a Phone Call

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

Ann Smith, CNM, President, Postpartum Support International

For a woman suffering from perinatal depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder, there’s nothing scarier than feeling alone, abandoned, or without the help she so desperately needs.

I understand this issue all too well, because I had severe anxiety after giving birth to my second and third children. Unfortunately, there was little help available at the time. Those difficult experiences inspired me to make a lifelong commitment to the cause.

Now, I’m the president of Postpartum Support International (PSI), an organization dedicated to promoting awareness, prevention, and treatment of perinatal mental health issues. PSI offers a lifeline to moms in need in every state in the U.S. and across the globe.

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How MCPAP for Moms Offers a Lifeline to Providers and Women in Need

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

How MCPAP for Moms Offers a Lifeline to Providers and Women in Need
Nancy Byatt, D.O., M.S., M.B.A., F.A.P.M., with contributions by Jamie Belsito and Amanda Martin

With nearly 15% of pregnant or postpartum women suffering from depression and very few medical providers able to offer effective treatment, it’s clear there’s a serious gap in available care.

JaimieAs we’ve discussed throughout this series, this is a national health crisis, and the answer, in short, is for the system to expand its capacity for care.

Through our work in Massachusetts, we’ve found that a centralized program allows us to easily increase the care that physicians are able to offer. Doing so simultaneously solves a major dilemma for providers, who have long felt frustrated at their inability to help mothers in need— and helps patients feel secure and supported. That’s the role the MCPAP for Moms (Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project for Moms) has been filling since its inception last year.

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Why Psychiatric Care for Pregnant Women Often Falls Short

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this series.

Why Psychiatric Care for Pregnant Women Often Falls Short
Nancy Byatt, D.O., M.S., M.B.A., F.A.P.M.

When a maternal suicide or infanticide (the intentional killing of a child within a year of birth) makes the news, everyone is left with one question: How could this have happened? The truth is that the potential for this kind of tragedy lies within a very specific segment of the population: vulnerable pregnant and postpartum women in need of psychiatric care.

Of the millions of women who suffer from perinatal mental health issues, most have unipolar depression and can be treated successfully by trained OBs or other primary care providers. The remaining 20 percent, however, require psychiatric care for more complex conditions such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or postpartum psychosis, and it’s in this population where tragedy can occur.

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Surviving Severe Postpartum Depression

Susan Campbell
Families for Depression Awareness

I started dreaming about having a baby when I was a very little girl. I began babysitting at a young age and played with dolls for far longer than I care to admit. Being a mother was my life’s ambition. I never imagined that when I finally became a mother, I would have thoughts of hating my baby or wanting to hurt her or myself. But that’s exactly what happened and today I am truly grateful that we are alive.

I couldn’t have been more excited, less than three months after our wedding, to learn that I was pregnant. But it wasn’t the magical, transformative experience I’d imagined. It was a lot like turning a year older: you know something happened, but you don’t feel any different.

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