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Postpartum Psychosis


I’m holding grief with you this week as we lost another mama and children to what appears to be maternal mental health. As a therapist who works passionately in the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Community  I’m doing what I know best to do. Grieve, lament and then advocate.  We all want more for birthing people. The more you know, the better we can do. So tonight I want to share with you education about Postpartum Psychosis.


Postpartum Psychosis (PPP)  occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries and is considered an emergency situation. What does emergency situation mean? It means that this maternal mental health diagnosis requires immediate care.  


The symptoms of perinatal psychosis include delusions or strange beliefs, hallucinations, feeling very irritated, hyperactivity & decreased need for sleep, paranoia & suspiciousness, and rapid mood swings.


The facts about perinatal psychosis are that while it is less common than other perinatal mental health disorders (affecting 1-2 women per 1000 births), it is always an emergency situation. The onset is usually sudden, within 2-3 weeks postpartum, and treatment options almost always include hospitalization, medication, and therapy.


As you read these symptoms and sit with this pain it’s crucial that you remember that with Perinatal Mood or Anxiety disorder- You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with help, you will be well (my favorite mantra from Postpartum Support International).

 

Here’s some action items: 

Ask new parents if they are okay. Not just birthing parents but ALL caregivers. Ask more than once. Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes we are scared to ask questions we are uncomfortable with. I promise you, this is a question you will never regret asking.


There are resources:

Here’s what Postpartum Support International has to offer:

“After a PPP survivor’s symptoms have been stabilized, peer support can be an important tool for recovery. Because PPP occurs less often than other perinatal mood disorders, survivors can go their whole lives without meeting another PPP survivor.


In response, PSI has created an online peer-to-peer support group for PPP survivors. This group is intended for those who are in recovery (no longer experiencing psychosis). Whether your PPP experience was relatively recent or years ago, you are welcome to attend our free, online peer-to-peer support group.

The Support for Families Touched by Postpartum Psychosis meets the 1st Wednesday of the month at 7pm ET/4pm PT.


Perinatal and postpartum psychosis impacts the entire family. Supporting your loved one through a mental health crisis is taxing and you also deserve support. Led by PSI-trained facilitators, this group helps family members find support for themselves as well as provides useful information and resources to help them navigate their loved one’s experience with PPP. Whether your family’s PPP experience was relatively recent or occurred years ago, you are welcome to attend our free, online peer-to-peer support group.”



Find Assistance:


Call or text Postpartum Support International HelpLine at 800-944-4773. You never need a diagnosis to ask for help.


Call or text the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1-833-943-5746.


For a crisis situation, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.


Visit postpartum.net for additional programs and resources.


Professionals:


Working in perinatal depression, perinatal  anxiety, perinatal OCD, panic disorder, bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis requires you to understand the tools and resources at hand. It requires you to use standardized assessment measures and ask the hard questions. We should stay sharp in our tools and follow clinical guidelines and recommendation for perinatal care. Join your local Postpartum Support International Chapter. Get involved. Raise Money. Raise Awareness. Here’s a great free training from Postpartum Support International. If you aren’t a Postpartum Support International member email them directly and they will send you the link.


 

Grieving tonight,

Emily Morehead, a mama first, a therapist second

Co-Owner of The Couch Therapy

Board Member of Postpartum Support- Texas

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