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MotherWoman Expands Perinatal Depression Intervention to Additional MA Communities

MotherWoman Expands Perinatal Depression Intervention
to Additional Massachusetts Communities

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 expanding the Community-based Perinatal Support Model© (CPSM) to four new communities across the state to address the critical public health issue of perinatal depression. The expansion of the CPSM will ensure that more mothers and families receive the support they need when they need it the most. 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 is provided by the MA Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) for Moms. 

This is the biannual release of the MotherWoman perinatal mental health resources grant opportunity.  MotherWoman is excited to announce the four 2015-2016 grantees, Hallmark Health of Melrose, Holyoke Medical Center of Holyoke, South Bay Mental Health of Lowell, and Women’s Health Associates of Western MA of Westfield.

“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

Hallmark Health, Melrose MA – Hallmark Health’s mission is to provide the highest quality of care to communities in Boston’s Norther suburbs, committed to building and sustaining a strong, vibrant and healthy community.

Hallmark Health is honored to accept the CPSM grant opportunity offered by MotherWoman. In March of 2015 we established a community-based provider care collaborative to work closely with new mothers with mood and substance abuse disorders. MotherWoman's experience and expertise will help us to further that collaborative by building more training, screening and referral programs, by creating a strategic plan to sustain our work, and by enhancing the work we have done to seed community-based peer support groups,” said Laura Sternberger, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.

Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke MA – The mission of Holyoke Medical Center is to serve the health needs of the community in a high quality and efficient manner. 

South Bay Mental Health, Lowell MA – South Bay’s mission is to encourage the self-sufficiency of disadvantaged people through behavioral health care and substance abuse services that are grounded in the community.

“We are fortunate to have this opportunity to work with MotherWoman to bring focus in our community to Maternal and Infant Mental Health.  We are eager to begin working with mothers through a program grounded in the community.  This is a great opportunity to reach many and to establish a safe community where mothers can feel valued, respected, and supported,” said Heather Biedrzycki and Kelly Petravicz, South Bay Early Childhood.

Women’s Health Associates of Western MA, Westfield MA – The mission of Women’s Health Associates is to provide exceptional care for women in a personalized, warm and responsive environment, and to integrate modern technology with traditional, alternative, and holistic approaches to women's health.

“Women's Health Associates, a well-established OB/GYN practice in Westfield and Springfield, is delighted to announce the launch of a Community Perinatal Support Model grant for Westfield and the Hilltowns for 2015-16. The CPSM grant through MotherWoman and MCPAP for Moms is a rare opportunity to work closely with experts in the field of perinatal mental health to bring much-needed information, resources, and skills to our wider community. Whether it be through a training session, a webinar, or a postpartum support group, everyone in our area will have the opportunity to learn more about perinatal emotional health, how to recognize complications, and how to access support and treatment," quotes Anne Vaillant, Women’s Health Associates.

Recipients of the Community-based Perinatal Support Model (CPSM) 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. In partnership with MotherWoman communities will identify a leadership team, build a community coalition, and ultimately create a comprehensive safety net for mothers and families. 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.

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.

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.

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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 

For more information:

Shelly Smith, MPH

MotherWoman Program Manager