Fall Education & Training For Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

postpartum depression trainingThe Postpartum Resource Center of New York will also host a 2-day training, PSI’s Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Components of Care, at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks NY, this November 14-15. To attend or learn more, click here. PSI is also holding its 2-day trainings at the following locations in the next couple of months (click here to learn more):

  • August 29-30, Winfield, IL
  • September 10-11, Missoula, MT
  • September 23-24, Tain L’Hermitage, France
  • October 17-18, Fresno, CA
  • October 24-25, Grand Rapids, MI

The “We Can’t Wait” Early Childhood Mental Health Conference will be held in San Diego on September 27 and 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The event will feature a session on peripartum mental health with Katie Hirst, MD and Gretchen Mallios, LCSW, from the Postpartum Health Alliance of San Diego. For more information, click the link above.

The Marce Society is holding a Perinatal Mental Health Meeting in Chicago on November 6-8. It is entitled “Optimizing Maternal Treatment to Improve Infant Outcomes” and is sponsored by the Asher Center for Research and Treatment of Depressive Disorders at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, the Marce Society and NASPOG, and is aimed at healthcare providers. Continuing education credits are available. To register, click here.

ALSO, FYI, this week the Postpartum Resource Center of New York will host its 3rd annual Summer Gala. The event is Thursday, August 15th, at Captain Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore, NY from 6:30 – 10:30m.  A special treat this year will be a guest appearance by Ciaran Sheehan, star of Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”  Help support the great work of the PRC of NY helping moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders throughout New York by purchasing a ticket and joining in the silent auction. Tickets are available here.

On Magic Cures For Postpartum Depression & Why You Should Ignore Them

If you searched the internet this very minute, you’d think it was very clear what causes postpartum depression and how to treat it. I saw one website this morning about how you can use “therapeutic gemstones” to treat PPD, and another yesterday where someone said, as matter of factly as possible, that PPD is caused by a drop in progesterone and all you need is progesterone cream to fix it.

Hmmm. Interesting. Because last week I spent several days with the top scientists, researchers and physicians across the world when it comes to postpartum depression, and not a single one of them mentioned therapeutic gemstones or progesterone cream as the be-all-end-all cure for PPD. No one has all the answers, least of all the snake oil salesmen on the internet.

My key learning from attending the annual conference of the Marce Society and Postpartum Support International was that there are a lot of people using much larger brains than mine to try to figure this stuff out. They are trying to understand the genetic components of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, the social components, the impacts (both good and bad) of current treatments, how to provide better services to moms who suffer, and how one day we might prevent PPD and in the meantime have more targeted, safe and effective treatment methods. Having met them, I feel good about where we are headed, though at the same time it is clear we need many more specialists and A LOT MORE FUNDING.

I was happy to see such a diverse range of topics presented on everything from mindfulness-based therapy to post-adoption depression to eating disorders in the postpartum period. I was also pleased to see so many trying to figure out ways to reach mothers where they are — mothers who have no interest in being anywhere near a mental health professional but who need help — to get them treatment, whether it’s in their homes or at the supermarket. I heard from several who felt that another key takeaway of the meeting was that early childhood trauma seemed to be a major risk factor for PPD (raising hand here).

There was one particularly energetic discussion after a presentation on the new Diagnostic Statistical Manual, the DSM5, which doctors use to make mental health diagnoses. A representative of the team working on the topic of postpartum depression explained that the new DSM will state that the diagnosis of “depression with postpartum onset” can be made if PPD symptoms appear in the first four weeks postpartum. She said there just wasn’t enough scientific evidence to say that the diagnosis should be made if symptoms appear in the first 4 months, or 6 months, or 12 months or whatever.

As you might imagine, I had to call BS on that, so I stood up in front of the entire group to speak my mind. Anyone who works with women who suffer knows that many women don’t present with symptoms, or at least ask for help, until much later than 4 weeks postpartum. In fact, most sufferers don’t. Doctors who follow the 4-week rule will tell patients who come in at 8 months postpartum seeking help that they don’t have PPD and send them away. I GUARANTEE IT. The DSM5 process is not over yet, so there is still time to change their minds. If you’d like to tell the DSM5 team what you think of this BIG MISTAKE, register and comment here. Since there won’t be a new DSM for a long time after this one, you need to speak now or hold your peace. Just make sure you make a reasoned argument — they’re not going to pay any attention to what you have to say otherwise.

Near the end of the Marce/PSI conference, my brain began to ache from all the talk of serotonergic neurons, corticotropin, methylation and basilar dendrites. It was the good kind of ache though, like the kind you get after a good workout. Some exciting things are coming soon. In the meantime, don’t listen to someone who tells you they have all the answers. Instead, talk to your doctor. I highly doubt he or she will recommend therapeutic gemstones.