Mothers Urged to “Speak Up When You’re Down”

May is Perinatal Depression Awareness Month

Los Angeles, CA, May 4, 2011 – In recognition of Perinatal Depression Awareness Month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the LA County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force have launched the “Speak Up When You’re Down” campaign for women who are suffering from maternal depression. The campaign is designed to encourage women to seek help, to educate others about depression associated with pregnancy and birth, and to reduce stigma associated with maternal depression. 
 
“Having a child should be and is a joyful experience for women and their families. But often women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth are overwhelmed and experience depression,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “In Los Angeles County, one in three mothers report feeling depressed during their pregnancy. Left untreated, maternal depression can lead to long-term depression in the mother, a lack of emotional availability for the baby and detrimental outcomes in the development of the fetus, newborn and growing child. It is important that we educate women and their families about maternal depression and ways to cope.” 
 
“Approximately 15 percent of all women who give birth in LA County suffer from clinical perinatal depression and anxiety,” said Caron Post, PhD, Director of the LA County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force. “The numbers are significantly higher for those living in poverty. Left untreated, this can have devastating consequences for women, infants, children and families. Yet maternal depression is highly treatable. It is crucial for individuals, as well as health and human service providers to recognize the signs of maternal depression and to encourage women who are suffering to get the help they need.”
 
The first Perinatal Depression Awareness Month was declared in 2010 in Los Angeles County by the Board of Supervisors. It coincides with Mother’s Day and is to be recognized every May. Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a proclamation signed by the entire Board of Supervisors proclaiming May 2011 Perinatal Depression Awareness month throughout Los Angeles County which also acknowledges the work of the Task Force and its continued partnership with LA County.
 
As part of the observance, the Task Force will be providing the following events and materials
 
“Done in a Day” (May 1st – 31st): In partnership with Los Angeles-area Junior Leagues, all women that give birth in the county at any hospital during the month of May will receive information on perinatal depression and related mood disorders. 
 
The Community Providers Perinatal Mental Health Tool Kit: An easy-to-use resource with important information on signs, symptoms, risk factors, effects, screening, assessment, prevention, and intervention for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. This toolkit was created by experts for a wide array of providers, including pediatricians, OB/GYNs, primary health care providers, mental health professionals as well as community based providers such as promotoras and case managers. For more information about the Tool Kit, contact the LA County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force through its website.

Trainings for call centers such as the 2-1-1 LA County Information Line, Spanish-speaking promotoras via Esperanza House, and many community health and mental health care providers.  
 
A public awareness anti-stigma messaging campaign featuring the bilingual informational brochure “6 Things Every New Mom and Mom to Be Should Know About Maternal Depression” and the “Speak Up When You’re Down” bilingual poster. To order these materials, contact the Task Force at its website.

The LA County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force is a volunteer network and project of Community Partners. Its mission is to remove the barriers to prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County.  For more information, please visit http://laperinatalmentalhealth.com/
 
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: LAPublicHealth.
 
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Source: County of Los Angeles: Public Health News

For Distribution:  English      Spanish
 

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