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No One’s Job, Everyone’s Problem: Tackling the Oversight of Maternal Mental Health

An open letter from Dr. Birndorf to Perinatal Healthcare Providers

Dear Colleague,

I am reaching out to you directly from The Motherhood Center to discuss a critical systemic issue within our healthcare system that has led to an oversight in maternal mental health conditions, including prenatal and postpartum depression, prenatal and postpartum anxiety, and postpartum psychosis. The consequences of such neglect can be profound and far-reaching.

As providers in various disciplines that come in regular contact with new and expecting mothers and birthing people, it is everyone’s role to provide information on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and refer perinatal people to appropriate mental health treatment and support.

We understand that, as individual providers, it is not feasible to be all things to each patient. PMADs frequently require specialized attention that may extend beyond the scope of your practice. We encourage you to rely on us as your partner in maternal mental healthcare. We have a large team of experienced reproductive psychiatrists and perinatal therapists on staff who can ensure that your patients will receive high-quality, comprehensive treatment, allowing you to maintain your focus on what you do best.

We urge you to join us in our effort to ensure that pregnant and postpartum people experiencing PMADs receive the care they need and deserve to feel better. Here are some things you can do to join us in this mission:

Educate Your Staff: Ensure that every member of your team understands the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as prenatal and postpartum depression or anxiety.
Refer Proactively: When you encounter a mother in need, contact us to discuss treatment options.
Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the latest research and best practices in maternal mental health.

Together, we have the power to fill the maternal mental health crack that so many new and expecting mothers fall through every day. Don’t allow maternal mental health to be “No One’s Job.” Together, we can save lives.

Catherine Birndorf, MD
Co-founder, CEO, and Medical Director

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