PROJECT HEALTHY MOMS INITIATIVES
Mental Health America of Georgia’s mission is to enhance the mental health of all Georgians through education, outreach and advocacy. Through Project Healthy Moms (PHM), we are working to fulfill this mission by advocating for maternal mental health and striving to eliminate the deficit of education and resources for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Our goal is to increase awareness, identification, treatment, and support of PMADs in Georgia, while also reducing the stigma associated with them. MHA of Georgia supports the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women in Georgia through the provision of the following services:
Goal: To compile, organize, and disseminate an extensive list of maternal mental health resources within the state of Georgia.
General mental health resources are difficult to find within Georgia, let alone maternal mental health resources. Thus, Project Healthy Moms collects and expands a comprehensive list of psychiatrists, therapists, alternative therapies, support groups, and other resources that specialize in maternal mental health throughout the state of Georgia. Project Healthy Moms created this list so that providers and consumers have a single platform to refer to for resource linkage. This unique list is available without cost and can be accessed through the MHA of Georgia website.
PMAD Screening/Identification Training
Goal: Increase prevention, screening and identification practices among healthcare providers and other professionals that serve pregnant and/or postpartum women.
Early intervention has proven to decrease morbidity associated with PMADs; thus, providers who conduct prenatal care, well-child visits, or serve pregnant and/or postpartum women in some capacity have the opportunity to screen or refer to screen for PMADs. As such, MHA of Georgia has created the first Georgia-specific PMAD Screening/Identification Training. Through this training, healthcare providers and other professionals that work with pregnant/postpartum women gain greater insight into signs and symptoms of each illness, how to screen for PMADs, why screening is critical, what challenges they may face when implementing screening practices, and where to refer mothers if they need treatment and support.
Perinatal Peer Support
Goal: To expand the perinatal peer support network for women at-risk for, suffering from, or recovering from PMADs.
Research conducted on peer support and education during the antepartum and/or postpartum period indicate that these resources are associated with effective PMAD prevention and prognosis. Project Healthy Moms offers a Telephone-Based Peer Support program for mothers at risk of postpartum depression. Through a partnership with the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative (AHSI) of the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, this program enrolls low-income mothers at risk of postpartum depression to participate in a 6 month program. Through regular phone calls from a designated and trained peer facilitator, the women build rapport and receive support, encouragement and resources from other mothers who understand the isolating experience of postpartum depression. This program enables PHM and AHSI to proactively intervene with these women and provide them with the necessary support and resources for better health outcomes for themselves, their babies, and their families.
Funded by the Atlanta Women’s Foundation
Goal: To educate the provider community and general public about PMADs and available support resources.
PHM sends out a monthly e-newsletter to healthcare providers and community members called “Pregnant Pause,” which includes current research, pertinent articles, and opportunities for awareness, education, prevention, treatment, recovery, and support from PMADs. MHA of Georgia’s website also contains a free online “Perinatal Depression Tool Kit” that healthcare providers are able to download. The Tool Kit facilitates the dissemination of perinatal depression screening and educational materials, and providers are able to actively utilize the educational materials and resource list of healthcare professionals/organizations that specialize in maternal mental health. Project Healthy Moms also maintains a Twitter and Facebook page to raise awareness of maternal mental health amongst the general public. In addition to online efforts, MHA of Georgia hosts an annual 5k called “Move for Moms.” Move for Moms engages supporters, businesses, and the community at large to raise awareness and support for mothers who experience these illnesses.
To learn more about Project Healthy Moms’ programs, please call Sarah Schwartz at 678-904-1960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.