May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and we are kicking it off today - Its so important that we need an extra day in April to get ready for all of the events, programs and awareness campaigns!
This year Perinatal Mental Health Care has teamed up with the Maternal Mental Health Coalition of Ventura County (MMHCVC) and the Blue Dot Project. The Blue Dot is the national symbol for maternal mental health survivor-ship, support, and solidarity. We will be posting every day this week on Facebook and Instagram about maternal mental health to encourage new moms to speak honestly about motherhood, without shame, and to feel comfortable to reach out for help!
Day 1 - Monday April 30th, 2018 - AWARENESS
If you live in the Los Angeles area, please join the MMHCVC Motherhood Color Walk on Saturday May 19 at 10 am at the Promenade Park in Ventura, CA. The MMHCVC was established in 2017 as a non-profit, volunteer, public and private network dedicated to promoting maternal mental health and wellness through education, advocacy, assessment, treatment and training. Join us as we walk to raise awareness and funds to support moms and families by advocating for Maternal Mental Health!
UPDATE: We raised ALMOST $2500 of our $3000 goal on the 19th. Please click HERE for information about how YOU can still help!!! Even after the event - we hope to reach our goal and serve women all over Ventura County, CA and beyond!
Day 2 - Tuesday May 1st, 2018 - RESEARCH
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) affect the mother, her fetus/newborn (adverse perinatal outcomes), her partner, older children, extended family and in many cases (e.g. when she cannot return to work because of her symptoms) society as a whole. In addition to treating women with PMADs I am committed to understanding WHY some women develop these problems and also what the consequences are. I was honored to be invited to submit a paper to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine's Special issue on PMADs.
The paper is focused on 2 risk factors for adverse perinatal outcomes (APO; like preeclampsia, preterm birth etc.), prenatal vitamin d deficiency and prenatal depressive symptoms. Having both risk factors placed women at the highest risk for APO!
If you would like to read more click HERE.
DAY 3 - Wednesday May 2nd 2018 - GLOBAL MISSION
Its World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day! Worldwide, as many as 1 out of 5 women are suffering with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders! The exact statistics vary by country, but its clear that families of all backgrounds are in need.
Read more HERE.
DAY 4 - Thursday May 3rd, 2018 - CLINICAL CHANGE
In April of 2017 I helped initiate a new Postpartum Depression Screening, Education and Referral Program in the Postpartum and Maternal Fetal Care Units as part of my role at Cedars-Sinai. This Program received some local media attention last year, see more in my blog post from OCTOBER. With a lot of collaboration and dedication from 4 Departments across Cedars, I am thrilled to report that as of December our screening rate was 99%! More information will be shared about this Program in the coming months.
More recently, I was honored to be interviewed for Cedars-Sinai's blog post about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders! Please click HERE to learn FIVE things about postpartum depression that you may not know!
DAY 5 - Friday May 4th, 2018 - EDUCATION
One thing I especially love about my career is that I get to educate people about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). In honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness week, I was invited to 2 different Intensive Care Unit meetings at Cedars-Sinai to educate nurses, doctors and other staff about PMADs.
The Neonatal ICU (NICU) and Maternal-Fetal CU (MFCU) staff understands that women with perinatal complications and those whose babies have medical complications are at even HIGHER risk for PMADs! The rate jumps up to 1 in 3 women! We are working hard to identify women at risk and provide the best holistic care that they need!
Thank you so much for your interest in this work! Again, I want to thank the organizations that we have teamed up with including Maternal Mental Health NOW (who provides our education materials at Cedars-Sinai) the Maternal Mental Health Coalition of Ventura County (MMHCVC) and the Blue Dot Project. The Blue Dot is the national symbol for maternal mental health survivor-ship, support, and solidarity!
Dr. Accortt in the News
9/11/18: USC Center for Health Journalism, Cedars-Sinai PPD Screening Program May be Model for State
Summer 2018: Cedars-Sinai Catalyst Magazine, The Helping Hand of Los Angeles Funds Postpartum Depression Screening Program, scroll down to page 40 of magazine
5/18/18: TODAY.com, Alyssa Milano on Postpartum Anxiety
5/3/18: Cedars-Sinai Maternal Mental Health Research
10/19/17: Cedars-Sinai Postpartum Depression Screening Program
3/24/17: MomCo. App for Social Support
Dr. Accortt is a California licensed clinical psychologist. When she isn't seeing patients in private practice she conducts research in the OBGYN department at Cedars-Sinai. She will update this page with important maternal mental health news and research.