Program Spotlight: Maternal Mental Wellness

Our Maternal Mental Wellness program is a new effort, raising awareness of perinatal and postpartum depression/anxiety, connecting pregnant people to care, eliminating racial disparities in maternal mental healthcare, and educating care providers. Under Maternal Mental Wellness, we are lifting up the grants, groups, awareness efforts, and training we provide through several efforts aimed at ensuring the mental well-being of new families when a baby arrives.

Early intervention and support are key to helping people experiencing pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety. A parent’s mental well-being is a primary factor in ensuring their children’s well-being. Eliminating the stigma through awareness, and adequate diagnosis and treatment are the best supports to help kids and their parents through this challenge. Here’s how we are doing that.

Access Grant Funding
So far, we have partnered with Patients R Waiting, to support the Diversifying Doulas program. We are also advocating for policy changes in Pennsylvania to recognize doula services as medical and mental health care.

Moms Supporting Moms Group
This free online and in-person support group for parents experiencing postpartum depression/anxiety is facilitated by LOHF and Mental Health America of Lancaster County. Group members also support one another in a closed Facebook page. If you would like support, please visit the page and request to join.

PPMHLC Facebook page
The public PPMHLC Facebook page raises awareness of maternal mental health and offers resources and encouragement.

Mental Health Copay Assistance program
Persons currently insured but in financial need can see licensed mental healthcare professionals for any mental health need, including perinatal and postpartum depression/anxiety. This LOHF Mental Health Copay Assistance program reduces copays for already insured people to $10 per visit.

Training Professionals
We include topics in our Continuing Education and Training program that equip healthcare professionals to screen and treat pregnant and postpartum people for mood disorders. For example, in one of our last in-person trainings before the COVID-19 pandemic, we held a CME session on “Diagnosing Postpartum Depression” with Dr. Melanie French Stone, MD, OB/Gyn and Lindsi DeArment, DO. They discussed understanding the incidence and importance of postpartum mental health issues, reviewed existing tools for assessing both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients for these problems, evidence-based treatment strategies, shared local resources that are available, and address specific issues regarding breastfeeding and mental health care.

Looking Ahead

  • Our vision is to expand this program to provide:
  • Financial assistance to persons experiencing a perinatal mood disorder to seek counseling services but cannot afford it
  • Postpartum doula support services for patients experiencing a perinatal mood disorder who otherwise would not be able to afford it
  • Training for medical providers (including, but not limited to, family doctors, pediatricians, mental health professionals, OB/GYNs, doulas, childbirth educators, nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants) to screen and treat pregnant and postpartum patients for mood disorders

Guided by Patients

Formerly known as the Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County, it started as a grassroots effort by parents and mental health providers in response to the urgent need for providers to diagnose persons with perinatal and postpartum depression/anxiety disorders and provide support. This effort continues (with many of the same volunteers who launched it) as the Maternal Mental Health program of LOHF.