Postpartum Support International (PSI) was founded on June 28, 1987 in Santa Barbara, California at the first annual conference on “Women’s Mental Health Following Childbirth.” PSI was established by the participants of this meeting, including representatives from the Pacific Post Partum Support Society in Vancouver, Canada, Postpartum Education for Parents in Santa Barbara, California, the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association in Melbourne, Australia, and Depression After Delivery in New Jersey.
The mission of promoting awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing was created by this global network of individuals and organizations. Since its founding, PSI’s vision has been to establish a postpartum parent support network in every community worldwide.
The first Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation established the organization as a legal nonprofit in 1989. The concept of local state, province, and country coordinators was designed as a support and referral network to link a caller to the PSI Office back into that individual’s own community. Since then, thousands of requests for support and information have been fielded by the home office of PSI, our 1-800-944-4PPD warmline, and throught the website.
The PSI website www.postpartum.net was established during the 1990s with help from Indiana University in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of thousands of people looking for information, referral and support have since visited the site, which was the first website to focus specifically on postpartum mental health.
Since 1987 Postpartum Support International has sponsored an annual conference that unites professionals and social support network leaders who review research progress in the field of maternal mental health. At the 1996 conference the PSI Board of Directors established the Jane Honikman Award to recognize outstanding contributions to the goal of increasing awareness of emotional health related to childbearing. Recipients are announced at the annual conference. PSI also created the Susan Hickman Memorial Research Award to encourage research in perinatal mood disorders by graduate students. The $500 grant recipient is introduced at the annual PSI conference and that student’s completed research is displayed at conference the following year.
Since 2003, a two-day training conference entitled “Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care” has been offered prior to the annual PSI conference. The training program is now available for presentation across the country.
A tradition to honor the women who died because of postpartum mood disorders began in 2000. In 2005 a grant from the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Foundation turned an original embroidery called “PSI Remembers” into a Memory Quilt and Book. The quilt of names now travels to locations for display to promote the PSI Mission.