Statewide Program Highlights Maternal Mental Health Innovations During Pandemic

The Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) hosted a January 26 Maternal Health Awareness Day program in partnership with the PA Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC). This year's program highlighted maternal mental health during the pandemic and innovations to address the rising needs of Pennsylvania's birthing persons and their care teams. Over 490 attendees joined the virtual workshop.

Keynote speaker Priya Gopalan, MD, Chief of Psychiatry at Magee Women's Hospital, and Medical Director of the Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, shared data demonstrating the large impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of individuals in the U.S. and highlighted the dramatically higher prevalence of postpartum depression among Black and Latina women. Dr. Gopalan discussed opportunities to address mental health needs by screening patients and connecting them to services, mentioning Magee Women's Hospital's work and adaptations to telepsychiatry.

PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller shared with attendees the available resources to address Pennsylvanians' critical mental health needs. She detailed current home-visit and virtual programs intended to address social determinants of health for pregnant and parenting families. Secretary Miller also commented on DHS's work to address racism and their commitment to programs' equity in development and implementation, including a new health equity report from DHS.

The webinar concluded with insight from a panel of guests including Dale Adair, MD, Medical Director of the Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services at PA DHS; Mandy Fauble, PhD, LCSW, Director of Clinical Care Services at UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor; Saleemah McNeil, CLC, MS, MFT, Reproductive Psychotherapist & Founder/CEO of Oshun Family Center; and Nazanin Silver, MD, MPH, Gynecologic Psychiatrist at UPMC Pinnacle Women's Behavioral Health Specialists.

View the recording and resources presented during the program on the WHAMglobal website.

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