I know firsthand how dark and lonely it can be when you’re struggling with a Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). But having come out the other side of my PMADs journey, I also know that there is hope in knowing you are not alone and that there are people and resources out there waiting to help you.
As a San Diego sleep coach, I’ve worked with many clients experiencing PMADs. I’ve also become familiar with the many nonprofit organizations, experts, and support groups (both in-person and online) that offer education and support to families.
Because May is Maternal Mental Health Month, I wanted to take this time to share some valuable resources where you can find the help you need. No parent should ever feel ashamed about having PMADs, or seeking assistance. PMADs can happen to any new parent, even celebrities, and everyone should have access to mental health care when they need it.
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
This global nonprofit organization educates, advocates, and raises awareness about PMADs while providing crucial support to families who are struggling with a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety. PSI promotes equitable, inclusive access to professional mental health treatment for all women and families. Based in Portland, Oregon, PSI has chapters throughout America and in 36 other countries so you can find help close to home. (I have served as the chapter liaison for PSI’s California chapter.) If you’re unsure if you have a PMAD, the website has an informative overview where you can learn more, as well as a questionnaire you can fill out and take to your healthcare provider to start a treatment plan if needed.
Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color (PMHA-POC)
According to PMHA-POC, “38% of new mothers of color experience perinatal emotional complications like depression and anxiety.” That’s twice the rate of PMADs compared to white mothers. Even more sobering: 60% of women of color don’t get the necessary PMADs treatment or support. The alliance aims to change that by advocating for equity in mental health care, and raising money for scholarships so that mental health professionals of color get specialized PMADs training. PMHA-POC also functions under the umbrella of Postpartum Support International.
The Center for Men’s Excellence
Moms aren’t the only ones who can suffer from PMADs. New dads may also need mental health services and The Center for Men’s Excellence is a great place to learn more about research and resources. It’s been an honor for me to work with Dr. Daniel B. Singley, the center’s founder, and learn more about fatherhood and mental health. I highly recommend that all new dads follow the center on Instagram, too.
Climb Out of the Darkness
Sometimes it helps so much to know others have walked in your shoes. Climb Out of the Darkness is an annual PSI-sponsored event where families and providers come together. You’ll find empathy and understanding, as well as inspiration from PMADs survivors. Climbs are held throughout the country; if you live in San Diego, I hope to see you on June 25!
Check out my website for more postpartum support resources. And remember that sleep is important for your mental health–if you need help setting healthy sleep habits for your family, contact me for a consultation. I’m here to help you and your family find sweet sleep.