Mental Health Matters
About one in seven women will experience some type of mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or through the first year postpartum. While depression and anxiety are common, pregnant and postpartum women can experience a myriad of mental health conditions, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and, in rare cases, psychosis.
Symptoms can be hard to diagnose—they’re sometimes similar to the physical experiences of pregnancy. If left untreated, they can lead to premature birth or developmental problems caused by poor nutrition and self-care, smoking or substance use.
Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership® recognizes that good mental health is as important as good physical health. And that’s why our Indiana implementation dedicates staffing resources for both body and mind.
Sara Pollard is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and our go-to resource who provides support and education to nurse home visitors. She networks statewide with mental health professionals to make referrals and also provides direct client care.
“Not every pregnant or postpartum woman develops a mood or anxiety disorder, but we diligently screen for and educate about these conditions. There are numerous risk factors including a personal or family history of any mental health condition, lack of social support, and a history of trauma. We also know teens, single moms, and women living in poverty are at higher risk,” said Sara.
In 2017, she began outreach specific to the northeast region, focusing on our NFP mothers in Delaware County who are depressed or abusing substances. This program was made possible, in part, by United Way of Delaware County.
Tabitha, her husband Lee, and her daughter Sagan are one of the families benefiting from United Way’s support.
“The best part is the social aspect of having someone caring come to your home. Being a new mom can be isolating. I’ve learned a lot from NFP about managing anxiety and stress,” Tabitha said.