Local Perinatal Mental Health Champions to Speak at the State House

Rep. Ellen Story, Chair of the Postpartum Depression (PPD) Commission and Liz Friedman, MotherWoman’s Program Director will be speaking at Important PPD Event 

MotherWoman will be announcing an important grant opportunity to bring perinatal mental health resources to communities across the Commonwealth. For more information on this opportunity see below.

Hadley, MA—Join communities from across the state on Monday, June 29th 12:00pm – 3:00pm in Boston at the State House for an important PPD event, Bringing Postpartum Depression into the Light: Decreasing Stigma, Supporting Families and Implementing Policy Change in MA. Speakers at this event include key perinatal mental health champions from across the Commonwealth and local leaders on the issue.

The MA Commission on PPD is hosting this awareness day. The Commission is co-chaired by Rep. Ellen Story (Amherst) and Senator Joan Lovely (Salem) and is charged with making recommendations to the Department of Public Health and the MA State Legislature on advancing best practices regarding PPD screening, treatment and public and professional education.  Additionally, newly published PPD regulations for MA will promote screening and reporting for this issue.

“I have been leading the PPD Commission for four years and am pleased with the successes we have accomplished so far. We must continue to raise awareness and address barriers to care for the detection and treatment of mothers experiencing postpartum depression,” said Representative Ellen Story (D – Amherst).    

MotherWoman, a local non-profit in Hadley will announce their 2nd annual Request for Proposal (RFP) grant opportunity for communities to bring perinatal mental health resources to their communities. This grant opportunity is funded through the MA Department of Mental Health and MCPAP for Moms. Through this grant communities will receive resources such as, specialized perinatal mental health training, community readiness assessment and perinatal mental health strategic action plan, perinatal mental health toolkit, technical assistance and webinar support. Build a comprehensive safety net for moms in your community to ensure moms and families receive the best care and treatment available. For more information and to submit your Letter of Intent today visit http://svy.mk/1MM0Irc.              .

“Postpartum depression is really a community issue. Everyone involved with mom and baby from pregnancy through the first year can help support mothers and provide much needed resources. We look forward to this opportunity to bring perinatal mental health resources to additional communities across the state. It is our goal that ALL mothers in Massachusetts receive the necessary care and treatment they deserve.” said Liz Friedman, Program Director, MotherWoman.  Liz Friedman will be speaking at the event.

Mothers with lived experience and committed leaders from across the Commonwealth are gathering for the awareness day to bring attention to postpartum depression (PPD), a crucial public health issue.  This event will highlight the exciting events occurring in Massachusetts aimed at improving perinatal mental health outcomes for mothers and families, including: the Massachusetts Commission on (PPD), MA Department of Public Health PPD screening regulations, first year anniversary for the important program MCPAP for Moms, and successes from perinatal mental health coalitions.

“We are told having a baby is supposed to be a time of great joy. For many it brings on emotions never felt before. It is a devastating experience to feel like there is no hope. Mothers should feel surrounded by support. It is critical we educate and empower mothers in our communities to feel strength in a time that can be extremely scary,” said Jamie Belsito, a mom from Beverly, MA who will be speaking at the event.

Research suggests 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. In 2012, there were 72,457 births in Massachusetts. Thus, 7,245 – 14,491 mothers were at risk for or experiencing postpartum depression statewide. When undiagnosed and untreated, postpartum depression can have severe negative effects on mothers, infants and birth outcomes. While the risk and impact of PPD is critical, there is hope in Massachusetts that mothers and families can access the resources they need.

“When the expectation exists that a new mother will function as she did before the baby was born, the kind of attentiveness an infant requires will not only be challenging, it may be impossible. Faced with this expectation, many mothers feel very much alone. In contrast, when as a community we listen to and support new mothers, we support healthy growth and development of the whole family,” said Dr. Claudia M. Gold. Dr. Gold, pediatrician, writer, and director of the Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Program at Newton Wellesley Hospital, will be the keynote at the event.

MCPAP for Moms, a new program that began in July 2014, will be highlighted at the event. MCPAP for Moms promotes 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 postpartum depression.

“Pediatricians have been leading the charge for improving postpartum depression because we understand the importance of providers working together to create change for both the health of mothers and their families. I am pleased to be involved in raising awareness to this issue. MCPAP for Moms is an excellent program ensuring that providers are well informed and have access to the necessary resources so that we can care for families appropriately,” quoted John H. Straus, M.D., Founding Director, Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP).

MotherWoman’s successful Community-based Perinatal Support Model will also be highlighted. MotherWoman has been actively working to improve perinatal mental health for over 15 years, and in partnership with and funded by MCPAP for Moms, is currently implementing their Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) in six communities across MA – Cape & Islands, Greater Lynn, Greater New Bedford, South Shore, Springfield and Worcester. The CPSM addresses barriers to care to achieve optimal mental health outcomes for mothers and families, through multi-sector collaboration in education, training, resource development, triage/referral protocols, screening and policy.

As a result of implementation of the CPSM in these six communities, four perinatal mental health coalitions have been strengthened, two have been formed, over 250 providers have received specialized perinatal mental health training and nine new MotherWoman Support Groups are being formed in MA. Among the CPSM grantees is Baystate High Street Health Center, a local community organization. As a result the Baystate Medical Center (BMC) PPD Coalition has shown great success and is working to break down the silos of care and ensure that all mothers receive necessary care and treatment. The BMC PPD Coalition is transforming the labor and delivery floor with plans to provide professional education and implement universal screening. The have also implemented 3 perinatal mental health support groups in just one year.

For information regarding this event please contact Anna Roy at anna.roy@masenate.gov or visit http://on.fb.me/1Eo5biS

About MotherWoman

MotherWoman’s mission is to support and empower mothers to create positive personal and social change 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 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.

For more information visit www.motherwoman.org

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 visit www.mcpapformoms.org

For More Information on MA Department of Public Health PPD Regulations visit http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/laws-regs/dph/proposed-regulations/postpartum-depression-screening-and-reporting.html

For more information contact:
Liz Friedman