New York, NY, April 21, 2015 – Childbirth can be one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, and also the most challenging. Unfortunately, for many women, the transition to motherhood brings sadness, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. But new mothers should not suffer in silence. “May 7th 2015 is International Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day, and this year’s theme is ‘You Are Not Alone,’” says Ann Smith, CNM, and president of Postpartum Support International (PSI). PSI, as the leading organization dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood disorders, is asking national and local governments around the world to join in our efforts to raise awareness about something that has such a profound effect on so many families.
As many as 1 in 7 new moms experience postpartum depression. But with prompt treatment and support, most will make a complete recovery within the first year. “PSI provides the bridge between families and providers; we train providers and support families, connecting them with local resources,” says Wendy Davis, PhD, Executive Director of PSI. “Local volunteers and support groups provide an opportunity for mothers to share their stories, as well as tears and hugs. They provide that crucial peer support to help moms understand that they are not alone. We also use the latest technology to provide a wide range of support through our website, warmline, chat with an expert, social media, and online trainings. Services to mothers and families are completely free of charge.”
PSI serves 50 states and 40 countries. “This year PSI approved the formation of PSI state chapters,” says Chris Raines, MSN APRN-BC, Perinatal Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at UNC Chapel Hill Perinatal Mood Disorders Program. “PSI is very excited about this additional opportunity to reach moms and families on a local level, enabling us to offer direct support to families who might not otherwise reach out.” PSI is encouraging chapters to hold events, such as runs and stroller walks during the month of May. These events can raise awareness as well as funds to enhance both our local and international efforts, all with the goal of offering support to mothers and families.
Earlier this year the PSI Board conducted an exercise. “We asked ourselves, if we had a million dollars, what could we do to help more women?” says Smith. “Three priorities rose to the top. First, provide free or low cost training in perinatal mood disorders for mental health providers in underserved areas where women have almost no access to knowledgeable care. Second, initiate training programs for law enforcement and legal experts to understand symptoms of severe perinatal illness and thus avoid future tragedies. Third, create an endowment to fund research in perinatal mental health.”
Women looking for support can contact the PSI warmline, available in English or Spanish, at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD), or visit www.postpartum.net.
CONTACT: Sharon Gerdes, PSIpr@postpartum.net, 719-358-9499