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MotherWoman Announces Six Massachusetts Communities to Receive Community-based Perinatal Support Model© Brockton, Cape Cod, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester


Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director


MotherWoman Announces Six Massachusetts Communities to Receive Community-based Perinatal Support Model©
Brockton, Cape Cod, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester 

 Hadley, MA— MotherWoman, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating community safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications like depression and anxiety, is extending the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) to six communities across the state to address the issue of perinatal depression. The expansion of the CPSM will ensure that thousands more mothers and families can receive the support they need when they experience perinatal emotional complications. The CPSM provides communities with the tools they need to create a comprehensive safety net for mothers across systems including medical, mental health, social service and community programs.  Funding for this project is made available through the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP).  MCPAP is expanding the successful psychiatry access program for pediatric providers to address the issues of maternal mental health.  MCPAP for Moms, the new program, will provide psychiatric referral services for maternal medical care providers and pediatric providers.  The CPSM is a key component of the MCPAP for Moms expansion, supporting communities to address the issues of perinatal depression in communities across MA.

"I had thought postpartum depression couldn't happen to me. When I was experiencing a severe postpartum crisis, my healthcare providers did not know how to help me, nor could they direct me to community resources. It was scary and disempowering, until I found MotherWoman. The MotherWoman support group truly saved my life, and also directed me to providers who helped me recover.  I am looking forward to the time when all moms will be screened for postpartum depression, just as we get screened for gestational diabetes and other possible complications.” - Liz Reinke, MotherWoman Support Group participant.

Research shows that 10 – 20% of mothers experience postpartum depression. These numbers drastically increase when additional risk factors like poverty, domestic violence, addiction and teen pregnancy are taken into consideration. When undiagnosed and untreated, postpartum depression 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. This demonstrates the importance of addressing perinatal emotional complications and expanding the CPSM statewide. MotherWoman has already demonstrated the impact the CPSM can make on a community ready to address perinatal emotional complications through their work with Franklin County. Within 18 months of implementing the CPSM, Franklin County saw significant change in coalition development, public education, professional training, community resources/support groups, screening, and referral/triage protocol, all aimed to improve maternal mental health.

The success in Franklin County demonstrates the importance of implementing the CPSM in additional communities to increase available resources to address perinatal emotional complications and allows for mothers to receive the necessary care and treatment they need to improve maternal and family outcomes. Expanding the CPSM within these six communities will ensure that mothers and families have access to essential resources to improve perinatal emotional complications.

“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.

Recipients of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© will be provided 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 recipient communities were selected through a competitive Request For Proposal Process.  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 CPSM.
  2. To create integrated, community-based safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing perinatal emotional complications through the implementation of the CPSM.
  3. To increase access to mental health care for women and families through a network of statewide support groups.

Under MotherWoman’s leadership, community leaders will be trained to develop this model in their own communities to fit their needs. The six communities include: the Baystate High Street Health Center-Pediatrics in Springfield, Cape Cod Child Development serving Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, the Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness, Lynn Community Health Center, South Bay Mental Health-Brockton, and UMass Medical School/UMass Memorial Healthcare-OBGYN in Worcester.

  • Baystate High Street Health Center Pediatrics (BHSHC-Peds) provides primary care to infants, children, and adolescents in Springfield. With a particular interest in toxic stress, BHSHC-Peds understands the importance of including pediatric providers in the screening, care and treatment for mothers and families experiencing perinatal emotional complications.
  • Cape Cod Child Development provides primary care to infants, children, and adolescents in Springfield. With a particular interest in toxic stress, BHSHC-Peds understands the importance of including pediatric providers in the screening, care and treatment for mothers and families experiencing perinatal emotional complications.
  • Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness, Inc. reaches an ethnically diverse population with a large portion of the population living in poverty, particularly important in implementing the CPSM due to the unique barriers addressed by this community. 
  • Lynn Community Health Center provides primary medical, behavioral health, eye care, and dental services to the diverse and medically underserved community of Lynn, MA. The OB/GYN team provides comprehensive Women's Health, Prenatal and Post-partum care that includes on-site behavioral health and case management support for all women.
  • South Bay Mental Health Brockton reaches an extremely diverse population and understands the importance of addressing the societal and cultural barriers mothers experience when seeking care and treatment for addressing perinatal emotional complications.
  • UMass Medical School/UMass Memorial Healthcare-OBGYN is the primary referral for high risk pregnancies and deliveries in Central MA. UMass Memorial Healthcare-OBGYN will be able to reach a particularly vulnerable population of mothers due to the increased risk factors associated with high risk pregnancies and complicated deliveries and perinatal emotional complications.

 “We are honored to receive the opportunity to enhance our community knowledge and resources aimed at improving perinatal emotional complications. BHSHC-Peds has specific interest in toxic stress, which includes the impact maternal mental health may have on a child’s developmental and behavioral outcomes.  We are so excited to provide our community with additional resources that will support mothers and improve family outcomes” said Annamarie Golden, Manager, Community Relations and Community Benefit, Baystate Health.

 “We are particularly aware of the long term consequences for mothers and families that experience perinatal emotional complications and the stigma associated with maternal mental health. We are honored to have to have the opportunity to work with MotherWoman and improve access to care and decrease the stigma associated with perinatal emotional complications within our community,” said Mary Wilson, Coordinator, Cape and Islands Maternal Depression Task Force.

“We are so honored to have the opportunity to bring the CPSM to New Bedford. Our community has been working on improving perinatal emotional complications for a number of years. However, we are confident in the success we will see in bringing an even more collaborative approach to our community and expanding the resources available to mothers experiencing perinatal emotional complications,” said Barbara Acksen, Chair, Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness, Inc.

“This is a great opportunity that will allow the health center to better serve women in our community who face barriers to care that include poverty, lack of transportation, isolation, domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness, and language barriers.  These challenges put our patients at a significantly higher risk for perinatal emotional complications.  We look forward to working with our community partners to implement a program that provides support, opportunity and empowers mothers in the community,” stated Dr. Alex Kochowiec, OB/GYN  Medical Director, Lynn Community Health Center. 

“The announcement from Mother Woman of their six awards for the Community-based Perinatal Support Model has demonstrated their commitment to the residents and families of Massachusetts.  South Bay Mental Health is pleased to be part of this clinical initiative and award recipient for the Brockton area.  We understand the importance of maternal depression on mother-infant interactions, parenting practices, and the long term consequences associated with it.  We are hopeful the CPSM can bring us closer to making sure all mothers receive the care and treatment they need and we will have a long term positive impact on families within Massachusetts,” said Michael L. Pelletier, President and Chief Operating Officer, South Bay Mental Health Center Brockton.

 “UMass Memorial Healthcare-OBGYN is thrilled to bring this model to Worcester. It is our goal to improve screening and overcome the barriers many mothers experiencing perinatal emotional complications report in receiving care and treatment. We know we can have success with the help of the CPSM,” said Mary Elizabeth Gamache, CNM, NP, UMass Memorial Healthcare-OBGYN.

“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.

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

  • Training community leaders and professional 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.

For more information contact:
Liz Friedman