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Massachusetts State House Hosts -- Bringing Postpartum Depression into the Light: Decreasing Stigma, Supporting Families and Implementing Policy Change in MA


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 1, 2015
Liz Friedman
MotherWoman Program Director
Massachusetts State House Hosts -- Bringing Postpartum Depression into the Light: Decreasing Stigma, Supporting Families and Implementing Policy Change in MA

Rep. Ellen Story has led the state-wide PPD Commission that will bring this event to the State House

• MotherWoman’s Program Director, Liz Friedman will be one of the speakers at the event. MotherWoman has played a pivotal role at the state-level in addressing perinatal emotional complications

The event will be held on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 from 12:00pm – 3:30pm in the Great Hall of the State House, located at 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 01233.
Hadley, MA --- “Even though the odds of developing postpartum depression (PPD) were stacked against me, I still didn’t think it could happen to me. And then it hit. HARD. I felt as if I had jumped out of an airplane with no parachute and all I could do was wait for rock bottom to arrive – but rock bottom never did. I just kept falling. To make matters worse none of my health care providers knew how to deal with it because they had minimal training. They did not know if community resources existed. They did not know about the high rates of PPD. Essentially, they did not know how to help me. But thankfully the MA Postpartum Depression Commission does. I look forward to a time when all moms receive the support and care they need during this difficult period,” said Massachusetts mom, Elizabeth Reinke, RN.
“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. Mother’s 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, Mom from Beverly. Jamie Belsito will be speaking at the event.

Mother’s with lived experience and committed leaders from across the state are gathering in Boston at the MA State House on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 to raise awareness about the very critical issue of postpartum depression (PPD). Research shows 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 mother, infant and birth outcomes, including infant low birth weight and social, emotional and cognitive developmental challenges to babies and children. This can result in an increase in medical expenses, visits to the ER and loss of income to families.

Though PPD is such an alarming issue effecting both mothers and families, there is hope in Massachusetts. Big things are happening statewide that allow communities and leaders to better support mothers at risk for or experiencing PPD. The MA Commission on PPD, co-chaired by Rep. Ellen Story (Amherst) and Senator Thomas M. McGee (Lynn), 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. The Department of Public Health has issued regulations for health care providers (obstetricians, gynecologists, nurse midwives and family care practitioners) that screen for PPD within six months postpartum to report screening. The DPH also mandated insurance carriers that receive PPD screening claims to also report.

“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).  
MCPAP for Moms, a new program since July 2014, 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 PPD.
“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, a non-profit organization located in Hadley, MA supports and empowers mothers to create personal and social change by building community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers.  MotherWoman had been actively working to improve perinatal mental health for over 15 years. MotherWoman, 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 goal of the CPSM is to support community capacity by expanding resources, increasing provider competence and promoting mothers' inherent resilience at all points of provider contact from the first prenatal visit through the one-year well-child check. 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 seven new MotherWoman Support Groups are being formed in MA. MotherWoman looks forward to this opportunity to not only bring more attention to PPD and improve outcomes for mothers and families in our community but also across the state. For more information on how to bring perinatal mental health resource’s to your community contact us at motherwoman.org.

MotherWoman will proudly join other communities from around the state at the MA State House to bring attention to postpartum depression and urge legislators to prioritize this issue. 
“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 are pleased to help communities create comprehensive safety nets for mothers at risk for or experiencing PPD,” said Liz Friedman, Program Director, MotherWoman.  Liz Friedman will be speaking at the event.

In partnership with MotherWoman local communities have been actively working to improve perinatal emotional complications. After just 18 months of implementing the CPSM, Franklin County saw significant change across systems of care. Over 90% of mothers were engaged in education, screening and referral as needed. They held eight perinatal depression professional trainings which allowed over 200 providers to receive more specialized training on the issue. Franklin Co. formed  a postpartum depression support group and universal screening is being implemented in OB, pediatrics, social services, and in patient. They developed resource and referral mechanisms, crisis protocols and triage protocols. Finally, mental health and hospital policies are systemized across practices. As part of the CPSM, Baystate Health and Springfield perinatal mental health leaders gathered for a community conversation to begin discussing expansion of the existing efforts being implemented. Baystate Medical Center (BMC) PPD Coalition 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. Additionally, the BMC PPD Coalition is in the planning stages of a new perinatal mental health support group.

“As Senate Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and a member of the Massachusetts Postpartum Depression Commission, I have heard from both maternal mental health professionals and mothers who experienced PPD about the supports currently in place and the resources desired to help treat PPD. The first-ever PPD awareness day at the State House will provide an excellent forum for all constituencies involved with this issue to raise awareness and promote the changes they would like to see,” said Senator Joan Lovely (D – Salem).

“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. 

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, is committed to ensuring that ALL mothers in 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.

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. MCPAP for Moms provides real-time, perinatal psychiatric consultation and care coordination for obstetric, pediatric, primary care and psychiatric providers to effectively prevent, identify, and manage depression and other mental health concerns in pregnant and postpartum women.

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