« 4/2/14 - Celebrating Equal Pay Day for Women: Mothers make 71 Cents on a Man’s Dollar -- Time to Celebrate? | Main | 12/5/2013- Webinar Teaches About Comprehensive MotherWoman Perinatal Support Groups »

3/6/14 - MotherWoman Brings Perinatal Depression Intervention to Communities Across the Commonwealth


Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director

MotherWoman Brings Perinatal Depression Intervention to Communities Across the Commonwealth

HADLEY, MA— MotherWoman has been partnering with communities across Western MA for over the past 6 years to address perinatal emotional complications, like perinatal depression and anxiety, so that mothers can receive the care and treatment that they need.  MotherWoman has supported coalition efforts at Baystate Medical Center as well as Berkshire, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties.  These coalitions address the barriers to care for mothers experiencing perinatal emotional complications by providing communities with education, professional training, resource development, triage protocols and screening for mothers.  Because of MotherWoman’s success throughout the Western MA region, MotherWoman has been invited to bring their successful Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) to communities across the state.  MotherWoman has issued a Request for Proposal (see below for details) to expand their current Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM). The primary purpose of this proposal is to engage communities in improving resources, care, and treatment for mother’s experiencing perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman is a non-profit organization aimed at creating community safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications through creating community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers.  MotherWoman has received  funding for this project from the Massachusetts Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP). 

“MotherWoman is thrilled to bring the CPSM to new communities across Massachusetts. The CPSM has demonstrated great success within the communities already implementing it. We know that when communities implement the CPSM they are able to address barriers to care like stigma, lack of training, and public education by helping care providers join together in identifying the needs of women with perinatal emotional complications.  MotherWoman is committed to providing mothers and families with the care and treatment necessary for recovery in communities across the Commonwealth” said Shannon Koehn, Executive Director of MotherWoman

Research shows that 10 – 20% of mothers experience perinatal emotional complications. These numbers drastically increase when additional risk factors like poverty, domestic violence, addiction and teen pregnancy are taken into consideration. When undiagnosed and untreated, perinatal emotional complications can have severe negative effects on mother, infant and birth outcomes, including infant low birth weight and social, emotional and cognitive developmental challenges to babies and children. This results in an increase in medical expenses, visits to the ER and loss of income to families

“When I had my baby 2 years ago I remember feeling lost with no one there to understand what I was going through or offer any help. Everyone just kept telling me what you feel is normal; you will get over it in time. This program makes me hopeful for future moms and that they will receive the support they need to be healthy for their families and themselves,” explained a mom close to the program.

This implementation of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© in communities statewide is funded by the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) for Moms. With the increased interest in perinatal emotional complications across Massachusetts and the rapid growth of MotherWoman, the capability to roll out this model across the state, with the support of MCPAP, for Moms is a momentous step forward. 

“We know MCPAP for Moms, which is a psychiatry referral program for providers caring for mother and children benefits from partnering with communities to gain the highest level of success. Therefore, we find it important to incorporate programs like the CPSM that promote community coalitions and active involvement of community leaders. There is no wrong door. We want every woman to get the services she needs,” said Dr. John Straus, Senior Executive of MCPAP.

Communities that are selected will participate in the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© which will provide them with resources and training to create community coalitions which in turn will expand professional trainings for providers, identify and expand community resources, and ultimately create a system of care that allows for easy referral for mothers when they need it the most. The CPSM has three main goals:

1. To increase knowledge of perinatal emotional complications among all service care providers (mental health, human service, medical) and introduce communities to the Community-based Perinatal Support Model©.

2. To create integrated, community-based safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications through the implementation of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model©.

3. To increase access to mental health care for women and families through a network of statewide support groups.

“We must address barriers to care for Postpartum Depression. MotherWoman's CPSM does an outstanding job of breaking down these barriers, and I'm thrilled to see it expanding across the state," said Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst), Chairwoman of the Special Legislative Commission on Postpartum Depression.


Who can apply?

Eligible grantees are communities in Massachusetts ready to work together to build an active coalition to address perinatal emotional complications and pursue goals to improve care and treatment. The community must be dedicated to the mental well-being and health of mother’s and families.

For more information about the CPSM RFP and how to apply, go to www.motherwoman.org or email cpsm@motherwoman.org

About MotherWoman

MotherWoman’s mission is to support and empower mothers to create positive personal and socialchange for themselves, their families, their communities and the world. MotherWoman also addresses the socio-economic issues facing American mothers by advocating for family-friendly policy. MotherWoman seeks to create a culture that understands and de-stigmatizes screening and treatment of perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman promotes evidence-informed models in prevention, detection, and treatment of perinatal emotional complications by addressing barriers to care. MotherWoman, is committed to ensuring that ALL mothers in the the Commonwealth have information and education, access to resources, and proper care when faced with perinatal emotional complications. MotherWoman has successfully trained many medical and mental health professionals, as well as Support Group facilitators, within various communities across the state to implement this vision.

MotherWoman builds a culture of support for mothers and families by:

  • Training community leaders and professionals who facilitate groups to support and empower mothers to become strong and resilient leaders.
  • Training medical, mental health and social service professionals about the need for integrated support for maternal emotional health.
  • Using their nationally recognized Community-based Perinatal Support Model© to develop regional multi-disciplinary coalitions.
  • Working with partner organizations to educate parents and caregivers on policies that impact families.

About MCPAP for Moms:

MCPAP for Moms is an exciting new statewide program designed to bridge the gap between mothers and their limited access to mental health resources and support needed to address perinatal depression. It is an expansion of the successful Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP), which has improved child mental health care in Massachusetts by offering pediatric primary care providers rapid access to child psychiatry consultation, education, and care coordination. MCPAP for Moms aims to promote maternal and child health by building the capacity of providers serving pregnant and postpartum women and their children up to one year after delivery to effectively prevent, identify, and manage depression.


For more information:
Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director