Maternal suicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy and within the first year after birth. About 1 in 7 women screen positive for depression during pregnancy and within the first postpartum year. Treatment of maternal depression and stress has shown to be very effective in both decreasing symptoms and improving functioning among children and families. However, many women with perinatal depression or anxiety are under-diagnosed and go untreated. This remains a huge problem within our healthcare systems and for our families who are suffering.
Here are some ways that you can help your patients:
Educate yourself and your staff about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Know the right questions to ask her
Screen every pregnant and new mom who comes in to your office
Refer perinatal women to reputable and reliable maternal mental health professionals
(Find additional providers here: http://postpartumstress.com/get-help-2/where-can-i-get-help/professional-referrals/)
Please download the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The PHQ-2 asks about the frequency of depressed mood and should be used as a first step approach. If the woman screens positive, further evaluation is needed. The EPDS can be used as a stand-alone instrument to help determine whether the individual may have symptoms suggestive of depression. From there a mother can be referred to a specialist.
You cannot always tell if a mother is experiencing depression, anxious or even suicidal just by looking at her. You must ask her these questions and you must screen.
Jamie Kreiter Therapy provides workshops and trainings on the signs and symptoms of PMADs and most effective ways of screening. If you are a Chicago-provider, please reach out to schedule an in-person workshop. For further questions, please reach out on the contact page.
I look forward to connecting with you and together, ensuring that we treat healthy mothers in order to promote healthy families.
Jamie Kreiter, LCSW