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Aid to Ease the Baby Blues

Aid to Ease the Baby Blues

Postpartum Support International looks to be a resource for new parents in Mid-Missouri.

Many claim that having a child is the most wonderful experience in the world. But once the congratulatory balloons deflate and the baby comes home, it might not seem that way. Many families struggle with the “baby blues,” and the CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 8 moms experience postpartum depression. It can be a major source of pain for moms and their families, but nonprofit organizations like Postpartum Support International (PSI) are working to destigmatize these feelings and give aid to families who need it.

“PSI is an organization that provides education, support, and awareness around perinatal mental health disorders [like] postpartum depression and anxiety,” says Patricia Howell, president of PSI’s Missouri chapter. “[We] also provide resources to professionals and individuals who are passionate in this area to get more comfortable supporting those who are struggling.”

It’s not for just moms, though. PSI also offers resources for dads, partners, grandparents, and more. 

“It’s hard to admit that you need help as a new parent, and PSI is just really trying to normalize that it’s hard,” explains Megan Steen, a Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional.  “And that there’s a lot of people that have the same struggles as you, and that there is help available.”

Patricia explains that she first got involved with PSI while working as a doula and childbirth educator. During her career, she noticed that her clients who struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety were passed between doctors and specialists, none of which were able to offer much help.

“I really wanted to do more to help families, to let them know what resources are out there and be able to access them in a timely manner. This is not something that can wait weeks, or even days. It’s not just the mom you’re worried about, but the baby as well,” she says. “There’s a lack of providers in Missouri specifically trained to help families dealing with [perinatal disorders], which is another thing that I wanted to see us improve through our work at PSI.”

With a background in mental health, Megan knew that there was a lack of resources available. But after losing a friend to postpartum psychosis, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“I saw how easy it can be to really as a new mom kind of fall through the cracks,” she says. “I became really passionate about making sure that our healthcare communities destigmatize [this] and have these conversations … That’s when I went through the certification myself and learned more about PSI, and then had the opportunity to get connected to the board.”

Right now, the Missouri chapter is working hard to get more healthcare professionals certified in Perinatal Mental Health so families can find support all around the state.

Still, help is available at a moment’s notice by calling the PSI warmline at
1-800-944-4773.

“People ask, ‘what can I do just to help [my] daughter or my friend that might be going through this?’” Patricia says. “I just say — if you know a new parent, you know — everybody is excited to ask about the baby. Just remember to ask the the parents how they are doing. Have the PSI warmline ready to give them if they need help.” 

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