Editor's Note: Throughout the month of May, Emerald Doulas will spotlight and celebrate Maternal Mental Health Awareness. Emerald Doula and Postpartum Doula, Carrie Banks, writes the following post. Carrie also shares some common risk factors for developing a perinatal mood disorder in her recent interview with Emerald Doulas co-owner, Ashley. Watch the full video here.
If you're currently suffering from a perinatal mood disorder, please, please, please do not suffer along. Please, reach out to us for support. We are here for you.
For families experiencing a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, there never seems to be enough resources within any community. Either they’re non-existent or they’re very hard to find quickly and when you need them the most. Fortunately, for local Triangle families, we live in an area that is resource-rich, that work together to create a network of support for mothers and their families.
Research tells us that women who receive a combination of medical treatment, talk therapy and peer support have the most successful recoveries from a perinatal mood disorder. Below are our top resources for mothers or families who suspect they may benefit these various forms of treatment.
- Emerald Doulas, LLC
Who we are: We are the Triangle’s first full-service doula agency. Families who hire postpartum doulas are less likely to develop a postpartum mood disorder. Our team includes seven experienced and skilled postpartum doulas who are expertly capable of supporting families with all parenting goals.
How we can help: Some of our postpartum doulas have received additional training and specialize in the care of women and families suffering from mood disorders. Mothers struggling with anxiety and depression benefit from our mother and community-centered care and our ability to help her take care of herself and her infant. Our goals-based IBCLC is also a huge help for struggling families by offering in-home and judgement-free lactation support. Our postpartum doulas can offer 24-hour crisis support and ongoing overnight and daytime shifts with a core team of doulas, allowing the mother time to rest and recover while also making sure her family is well taken care of.
In addition to offering birth and postpartum doula services, Emerald Doulas also has a peer support group specifically for mothers experiencing a PMAD. The group twice a month on the second and fourth Mondays from 7 to 8:30p at the EmDo office.
- UNC Center for Women's Mood Disorders
Who they are: The center’s mission is to provide state-of-the-art clinical care, research, and support groups to address the needs of women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. UNC is a leader in the field and is a wonderful option for mothers seeking psychotherapy and medication options. Women from across the country come to the clinic’s inpatient unit for women with severe perinatal depression or psychosis.
How they can help: We are fortunate to have such a wonderful resource right in our backyards! Call the clinic at (984) 974-3834 and ask for a perinatal consult. Note: Non-urgent appointment requests are usually granted within two weeks. If you need to be seen sooner, ask for an emergency or crisis appointment There is also a free support group, facilitated by a psychiatric nurse practitioner, available on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Call (919) 966-3115 for more information. If Chapel Hill is too far of a distance for you and Raleigh is a more convenient location to seek treatment, call (984) 974-5217 and ask for an appointment in the Rex Hospital site.
- Women's Birth and Wellness Center
Who they are: The Women’s Birth and Wellness Center (WBWC) is an out-of-hospital birthing center located in Chapel Hill. The Center offers a variety of support groups and lactation support for parents, regardless of where their baby was born.
How they can help: The WBWC offers a free weekly support group, facilitated by nurse, Nancy Albercht for pregnant and new mothers who are struggling with a postpartum mood disorder. Call (919) 933-3301 ext. 207 for more information.
- Postpartum Education and Support
Who they are: Founded in 2007, this Raleigh-based nonprofit serves pregnant women and new mothers suffering from depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorders. PES also offers resources to families and provides educational outreach and support services for the communities and healthcare providers that serve this population.
How they can help: PES excels in its Moms Supporting Moms (MSM) approach to peer support. Families in need can find support in a variety of ways, including a telephone Warmline (919-454-6946), online support and in-person support groups. If you need help, call the Warmline to speak to a trained expert or to ask about their in-person support groups, or reach out by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are also so many valuable online resources (and I'm sure we're leaving something off this list!) but here are our top two recommendations:
- Postpartum Support International: PSI is another nonprofit organization, but they have one of the most informative, helpful websites about PMADs out there! Through their site, you can find information about PMADs, advocate for individuals with mental health disorders, and can help you get connected to local support options.
- Postpartum Progress: Rated as one of the best blogs about Postpartum Mood Disorders, this site raises awareness and provides support for maternal mental illness.