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  • Writer's pictureKim Gibson, MS, ATR, LPCC

1 in 5 women will experience a maternal mental health disorder

Maternal mental health disorders are the #1 complication of childbirth. Maternal Mental Health (MMH) disorders include a range of disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis and can occur within pregnancy or the postpartum period (often referred to as the perinatal period).  MMH disorders often go untreated. Many times women think they should just be OK on their own, or they should power through or they chalk it up to "just" the baby blues. Other times they know they feel off, but don't know how to access help. Often everyone is checking on baby, but no one is checking on mom. Left untreated, these disorders can lead to consequences for the mother, her baby, her family and society.

It is important to know that help is available and is effective. There are therapists out there, like me, who specialize in maternal mental health. Therapy and support does help. One way to find a therapist is to ask your general doctor, your OB or close friends for recommendations. Another way is to look at the provider directory on Postpartum Support International's website. Their website is full of helpful info. They also have a PSI HelpLine at 1-800-944-4773(4PPD). Calling this helpline can put you in touch with basic information, support & resources.

Another helpful website to know about is "The Blue Dot Project." (The infographic above is from this website). The Blue Dot Project is all about raising awareness of maternal mental health disorders. They want to the blue dot to become a symbol of solidarity and support & they want to combat stigma and shame. Please check out their website for more info, support and resources. And most importantly know you don't have to go it alone. Reach out if I can be of help; I'd be happy to discuss how therapy can help with MMH disorders or connect you to resources.

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