The mission of Postpartum Support International is to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing in every country worldwide.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) was founded in 1987 by Jane Honikman in Santa Barbara, California. The purpose of the organization is to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Approximately 15% of all women will experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child. Up to 10% will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy. When the mental health of the mother is compromised, it affects the entire family.
PSI headquarters is located in Portland, Oregon, and has members all over the world, including volunteer coordinators in every one of the United States and in more than 36 other countries. PSI disseminates information and resources through its volunteer coordinators, website and annual conference. Its goal is to provide current information, resources, education, and to advocate for further research and legislation to support perinatal mental health.
Dedicated PSI members, leaders, and friends work tirelessly across all levels to meet goals of the shared PSI mission of support, education, advocacy, and research for people living with mental illness through various activities, including:
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 through 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.