One of the biggest barriers to linking depressed and anxious new moms with the professional help they need is lack of routine screening, education and referral. This is changing in England and Australia where many hospitals already conduct perinatal depression screening programs. At Cedars-Sinai things are also changing. In April 2017 we initiated the new Postpartum Depression (PPD) Screening, Education and Referral Program. 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% and remains so!
Screening alone won’t help. And educating alone won’t help. Nurses, social workers & other professionals like OBGYN doctors and pediatricians must be trained to conduct the screening, education AND referral process properly. So we teamed up with Maternal mental health Now and made a PPD Screening Training video!
Some of the tips for screening include:
As we prepared this training video we took into account the initial questions from Cedars nursing staff. One nurse wondered what to do in case a husband, mother-in-law or older child was in the room, “Should I go ahead and ask the questions anyways?” she asked?
No – it is very important to “prepare the room” and allow a new mom to be 100% comfortable to endorse the items.
Another nurse followed up by asking, “How exactly do we politely ask these family members to leave?” and “What do we say if she worries we will call child protective services if she does endorse an item?”
These are all excellent and very important questions. Our training video is finished! It includes the answers to these critical questions (including limits to confidentiality) and several interviews about the protocol, including with an OBGYN doctor, a social worker and a patient representative and will GO LIVE to train the 100’s of Postpartum and Maternal Fetal Care Unit nurses at Cedars next month!
Here is the first minute of the role-model segment of the training video.
For the full 10 minute video please go to Maternal Mental Health NOW's website, and inquire with the Training Director, Gabrielle Kaufman if it has not yet been made available to the public.
Thanks for watching!
I was honored to participate in the California State Senate Health Committee Hearing in Sacramento last week where both AB 2193 (MD screening and insurer case management) and AB 3032 (Hospital Maternal Mental Health) passed and moved on to the Appropriations Committee. Our team, led by 2020 Mom and Maternal Mental Health NOW, included other maternal mental health and health providers as well as survivors (Markeyta Stocker-Sandoval pictured), family members and other advocates.
I testified on behalf of Cedars-Sinai and Perinatal Mental Health Care for a very important bill to provide screening, education, referral and primarily case management for pregnant and postpartum women. This is my testimony.
July 2019 UPDATE: The rule became effective on July 1, 2019
What does this bill do?
To learn more, please see Maternal Mental Health Now's Guide to Implementing the 2018 Maternal Mental Health Bills.
Dr. Accortt in the News
12/3/19: Quartz, Ten questions about mothers’ mental health could promote resilient pregnancies
5/10/19: CGTN America, US comedian uses her act to turn the spotlight on postpartum depression
5/1/19: KTLA News, How One Comedian’s Battle With Postpartum Depression Turned Laughs Into Legislation
3/20/19: KFI News Radio, FDA Approves First Drug for PPD, Brexanolone (Zulresso) - Correction: Rix states that Dr. Accortt "treats thousands of women at CS" - Thousands of women delivery babies at CS every year. Dr. Accortt does not treat them.
Winter 2019: Cedars-Sinai Discoveries Magazine, Stop The Stigma
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.