A recent Facebook post went viral about a mother who was seeking help for Postpartum Depression, but instead of her being able to get the help she was seeking, it resulted in the cops being called, the mother feeling “more broken”, and with still no services in place to help her. This is not OK.
I wish I could say that this was the first time I had heard of this happening or that it didn't happen right here in Sacramento, where we have been working really hard to get screening and increase support resources for the #1 complication in childbirth, which are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), including postpartum depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis. 1 in 7 women will experience a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder.
Unfortunately, I HAVE heard too many stories similar to this and this particular incident happen right here in Sacramento - and I know it happens too often all over the country.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak on the local news regarding access to resources for families experiencing PMADs. And as upsetting as this situation is for many, it is also helping to raise awareness as mothers, their partners, and providers have been reaching out and speaking out. That part is exciting because no one should suffer in silence or feel ashamed about how they are struggling.
We want to be able to provide people with the right information and the resources to connect with these services. And be able to help clinics and agencies develop workflows that help them address these concerns, train them on how to refer, especially with regard to insurance companies, and let them know what resources are available in the community.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) is an organization that offers direct support for moms, their families and providers online, by phone, and through text messaging. More information can be found at www.postpartum.net. They offer non-judgemental support by trained volunteers and also provide training to providers and work to connect individuals and families with providers who can provide real help. I, myself, am a volunteer coordinator with PSI, so I know the quality of service they provide firsthand.
You can find the links to all the services that PSI has to offer from online support groups to chats with the experts and a warmline where someone will call you back in English or Spanish, plus so much more.
If you or a loved one have questions about the symptoms you are experiencing or maybe feel like you or your symptoms were not taken seriously elsewhere (regardless of where you are located), please call the PSI warmline at 1-800-944-4773. There are people that want to help connect you to the best services.
If you are right here in Sacramento we also have a parent support line called A Mother’s Heart. That number is (916) 681-2907. Someone is available to take your call 24/7.
Moms, here’s what I need you to hear:
It may be overwhelming, sometimes scary, or sometimes it can feel like you have done something wrong if you are struggling like this. Or, you might not even be sure if what you’re experiencing is normal or is something more serious. No matter what you’re feeling, you are not alone in this. You are not to blame and with the right help, you will be well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and get answers. All resources and links are provided in the information below.
Medical and mental health providers:
If you are interested in further training or wanting to know how you can volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact me or your local coordinator.
Above all, take care of yourself. This is not something for when you have time, but something make time for. Your health is important!
PSI Toll-free Helpline 800-944-4PPD (English & Spanish)
Postpartum Support International (PSI) www.postpartum.net
PSI Support & Coordinator Network www.postpartum.net/get-help/locations/
PSI Facebook Closed Group www.facebook.com/groups/25960478598/
Free Telephone Chat with an Expert (one for moms and one for dads) www.postpartum.net/chat-with-an-expert/
PSI Online Support Group www.postpartum.net/psi-online-support-meetings/
*Also, check out this writer’s take on the Sacramento mom’s experience on Slate.com.
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