Why We Do This Work
Most people don't get into therapy as a profession because they had this deep, dark desire early on in life and held onto that into adulthood. I mean, some people do, but I think largely, folks head into this profession because they have their own story. This is particularly true for perinatal mental health, a specific sub-specialty within the mental health field that is unique unto its own. When asked, most perinatal mental health professionals will be able to tell you their own unique story that led them to where they are now. Folks at The Life Workshop care really deeply about supporting folks through all walks of life, through all unique journeys and challenges especially through the reproductive and parenting period. There's a lot of nuances in the perinatal mental health sector that are unique and crucial to know in order to work with folks in this phase of life properly.
The Stats, The Evidence, The Epidemic
75% of people who experience maternal mental health symptoms (MMH) go untreated. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth affecting 1 in 5 individuals (over 800,000 people in the US alone), which is likely higher since this statistic was released in 2020. Despite this, there is no universal screening like in pregnancy for gestational diabetes or strep B. Further concerning, there is one, ONE follow up postpartum routinely at 6 weeks and most of the time it's a quick check in with emphasis on the physical healing. Somehow, missing the mark altogether on the fact that MMH is the highest occurring complication of pregnancy and childbirth.
PMADs don't discriminate. They're caused by a combination of changes in biology, psychology, and environment. All parents, including fathers, partners, and adoptive parents can experience changes in mood when there is a new baby in the household. And yet, despite this, little resource is devoted to supporting perinatal individuals whether they're the birthing person or not.
Suicide and overdose are the leading causes of death in the first year postpartum, with 100% of these deaths deemed preventable and the peak incidence being in the 6-9 month postpartum mark. Let that sink in. And again, little resource dedicated to universal screening, prevention, or treatment.
One might wonder "why?" Well, in the way the Western medical system is setup, maternal health in general is not a "money maker" and certainly even less is maternal mental health. Additionally, insurance companies are less and less likely to cover mental health services and more insurers have higher and higher out of pocket costs, putting treatment out of reach for many individuals. It all really starts there. What an actual shame. To help continue the human race, individuals must literally PUT THEIR LIFE AT RISK to do it.
This. This is why we do what we do. We care so deeply that all individuals deserve support while navigating through this journey. Please reach out if you need support; we want to hear from you and want to help.
Citations: Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance - Maternal Mental Health Overview (7/2020), Maternal Mental Health And Suicide (9/2021)