Yesterday, I told you my story of learning through experience that therapy, and mental health care in general, are not a one size fits all type of thing. Today, let’s get down to the practical side of things.
How do you go about trying to find a mental health professional who has at least a working knowledge of PPMD, if not lots of specialized experience? I’ll give you some tips that helped me, but please realize that this is NOT an exhaustive list, and I would LOVE To hear what has (or has not) worked for other Warrior Moms out there.
- Use the Postpartum Progress Depression Treatment Programs & Specialists page. Did you know Postpartum Progress has a page specifically for listing postpartum depression treatment programs and specialists who help women with PPMD? We do!!! How awesome is that? Make use of our fantastic resource. Even if you don’t find anyone near you, or anyone near you who is taking new patients, ask them if they can refer you to anyone else.
- Get specific in your Google search. Throw the word “postpartum” in there, or even a specific PPMD. For example, instead of just doing a basic search for “Atlanta therapist”, try something more specific like “Atlanta therapist postpartum”.
- See if your insurance has an online in-network provider database. My insurance is through TriCare, so that’s the experience I can speak to/from. TriCare has a website you can go to search for providers who are in network. This gives you contact information and you can then contact the provider directly and ask if they’re still accepting your insurance, taking new patients, and do they have experience with PPMD. Word of caution: make sure they still take TriCare. TriCare’s website has been known to be not entirely accurate/up to date on providers. If you’re with a different insurance company, see if they offer something similar.
- Use the Psychology Today therapist listings. Psychology Today has listings you can use to look up providers in your area. This can be rather like drinking water from a fire hydrant, but it can give you lots of options to start from and narrow your search field as you go.
- When you call to set an appointment, ask them directly. Say something like “I’m looking for a therapist who has experience and education dealing with Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Is this an area you have worked in before?” If you’re speaking with a person other than the mental health professional themselves, you can always ask if they can call you back directly to discuss it.
- Ask your OB/GYN, midwife, psychiatrist, family practice doctor, or other medical professional. They may very well have knowledge about what mental health professionals in the area specialize. Doulas can also be very helpful in this area.
- See if there’s a birth group in your area and ask them. There is a specific birth group on Facebook that has been invaluable to moms in my area for finding all kinds of help, from OB/GYN and midwife to picking hospital to deliver a baby at to recommendations and reviews on therapists and support groups. If you need help finding a group, feel free to shoot me a message and I can try to help you find a group local to you, or if you find a local doula, they should be able to help you find a group if there is one.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to mental health professionals who specialize in PPMD, and I realize this. If the only therapist you have access to is one who doesn’t have much experience with/education about PPMD, these tips may be helpful. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, it’s just a couple of things that I have learned from past experience.
- When you make the appointment, make sure they are aware of your situation. This allows them to do some research. Don’t be afraid to recommend Postpartum Progress to them, we even have a page specifically for clinicians.
- Print off some information to bring with you. Check out the previously mentioned Postpartum Progress page for clinicians and see if there’s anything on there you want to bring with you. Also look around the rest of Postpartum Progress. I am personally a HUGE fan of the Plain Mama English pages that give Plain Mama English descriptions and symptom lists. Print these out and take them with you. Highlight what you feel is applicable, underline stuff, write notes in the margins. I’m actually a huge fan of taking notes like this with me to the doctor in general so I don’t forget my questions or concerns or whatever.
- Talk to your OB/GYN, midwife, psychiatrist, family practice doctor, or other medical professional. Yes, this is a repeat, but that’s because it’s still applicable. If you are seeing/will be seeing a mental health professional who is not very well versed in PPMD, ask your… let’s say, midwife, for suggestions. Or even your family practice doctor may have some insight on how to prepare for the appointment.
Whatever your situation, I’m glad you’re getting help. And please, don’t be afraid to reach out to the Warrior Moms community. We are here for you. We love you, we see you, we stand with you, we validate you and your experiences. You are not alone.
What tips, stories, or suggestions do you have that you want to share?
Photo credit: Esther Dale