Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are common, treatable, and can occur at any time during pregnancy or in the first year after pregnancy. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 1 in 5 women suffered from symptoms of depression and anxiety during the perinatal period, and early data suggests that this number may now have increased to at least 1 in 3. Screening for PMADs in medical practices is an important step to identifying Vermonters in need of support and treatment.
PMADs include a spectrum of emotional distress- Perinatal Depression, Perinatal Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder in the Peripartum, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and rarely, Postpartum Psychosis. PMADs include a spectrum of emotional distress- depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and, rarely, psychosis. Symptoms before and during pregnancy are one of the leading predictors that a woman may experience mood or anxiety disorders postpartum. Additionally, there is emerging evidence that fathers, partners and non-gestational caregivers such as foster or adoptive parents are also at risk of experiencing mood or anxiety disorders due to the stress of caring for a new baby. Untreated PMADs can have serious impacts on maternal health and well-being, as well as long-lasting impacts on the children’s and family’s mental and physical health. Untreated PMADs can have serious impacts on parental health and well-being, as well as long-lasting impacts on the children’s and family’s mental and physical health. This PMADs factsheet has more information.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or in crisis, dial 988 for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or text VT to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line. Trained counselors are available 24/7.
If you are concerned about your or a loved one's safety or need emergency medical services, call 9-1-1 or go to the closest emergency room.
There are several resources across the state focused on providing support to individuals and families struggling with PMADS, as well as health care providers who offer treatment.
Help Me Grow connects expecting and new families to mental health clinicians with specialized expertise in treating PMADs, and other community services. Call 2-1-1 option 6 or email email@example.com. Providers can complete the referral form at www.helpmegrowvt.org
Help Me Grow Form
For help connecting to perinatal mental health providers and other Support Delivered services, enter your information, and a Help Me Grow Care Coordinator will contact you. Providers working with pregnant individuals and families who are experiencing PMADs can also make a direct referral by completing an online referral form. Or, you can:
- Call 211, option 6
- Text HMGVT to 898211
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Designated Mental Health Agencies in each VT county have clinicians trained to provide perinatal mental health support to parents, children, and families. Many agencies have support groups for coping with pregnancy or adjusting to life with a new baby. Find more information please click here.
Postpartum Support International provides telephone and text support, online groups and meetings 5 days a week, and peer mentors. Resources are also available for perinatal mental health providers. Vermont's chapter of Postpartum Support International provides a VT based warm line with local coordinators who offer support, information, and encouragement. Virtual support groups can be accessed at their website.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Consultation Service Medical providers in need of consultation and education regarding PMADs are encouraged to contact the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Consultation Service at the University of Vermont Medical Center at (802) 847-4758.
The Vermont Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health are partnering on the Screening, Treatment, & Access for Mothers & Perinatal Partners grant (STAMPP), a 5-year cooperative agreement funded by HRSA to help expand perinatal mental health services in Vermont. To access VDH’s website, click here.