A safety net for mothers, families

Wednesday June 29, 2011

I want to express gratitude to Amanda Korman for her June 13 article "Finding women the help they need." Speaking about perinatal emotional complications like postpartum depression and anxiety are almost entirely taboo in our culture. Mothers often feel silenced about having a hard time during what is supposed to be one of the "happiest times of their lives." In reality, 1 in 8 mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) and up to 50 percent of mothers in poverty experience PPD.

PPD is the leading complication for new mothers and yet it can often be difficult for mothers to talk about and find care and treatment. Berkshire County is facing many of the same difficulties that other counties in Western Mass. and across the nation are facing. It is an ongoing struggle to connect mothers with services even when there are excellent resources available. This is not the lack of any individual provider, agency or hospital but a sign of the challenges we face when developing a safety net for mothers.

It is the mission of the Berkshire County Perinatal Support Coalition to develop a multi-disciplinary safety net for mothers and families in the postpartum period so that no one falls through the cracks. The coalition is inviting all providers to join us in addressing the needs of mothers and families. We are pleased that many of the key providers in the region are engaged with the coalition. The expertise, commitment and compassion offered by the staff of Berkshire Medical Center, The Brien Center, ServiceNet, Community and Support Options as well as others, positions Berkshire County to take the strengths that are already in place and create a comprehensive safety net for all mothers so that they quickly find the care they need.

If you are or know a mother in need, please contact crisis services or other mental health services. With help, mothers experiencing perinatal emotional complications can get better. The sooner we get a mother help, the better it is for her and her entire family.



Liz Friedman is program director, MotherWoman.org and program director and founder of the Postpartum Support Initiative, MotherWoman.


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