Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders Program Helps Mothers and Families Bond

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Mental Health
Group Therapy

The Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) Program at Community Hospital Long Beach serves women with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and other maternal mental health disorders, by evaluating new moms and moms-to-be. The care team correctly identifies issues in order to create a tailored treatment plan for each patient. The program utilizes both inpatient and outpatient care to meet the needs of each woman and their children, with a focus on promoting mother-child bonding and attachment, while helping the mother overcome her disorder.

Getting the Care New Moms Need

A specialized care team of nurses, licensed therapists and recreational therapists assess a patient’s condition and works with them in order to determine the level of care needed. In order to provide
well-rounded treatment the PMAD Program offers:

  • Inpatient treatment with secure environment for women who are experiencing severe symptoms
  • Outpatient treatment including individual therapy sessions, support groups and educational classes related to nutrition, breastfeeding and maternal-infant bonding for those with less severe symptoms
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Mother and baby relationship constantly monitored by expert care team

Reserving inpatient treatment for the most serious cases, many women can be successfully treated using a combination of therapy and outpatient treatment.

A New Kind of Outpatient Treatment

“For many new mothers the transition to motherhood can be a lot to bear,” says Elizabeth McGee, LCSW, licensed therapist, Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders Program, Community Hospital Long Beach. “Women can feel alone and confused about their new role, which in turn leads to depression and anxiety. We try to help these women by taking the time to treat them and offer them the best possible care for their unique circumstance.”

Women undergoing outpatient treatment are seen two times a week in order to fully address their needs and concerns. Adding different types of supplemental treatment ensures that these women are able to successfully care for themselves and their children. The comprehensive program provides family therapy, medication consultation and support, skill building groups, creative arts and music therapy, as well as education groups.

For patients requiring medication direct referrals are made to physicians as a part of the University of California, Irvine Resident Program. Patients are seen by trained physicians at Community Hospital Long Beach who can assess their needs and prescribe the appropriate medication.

Family-Centered Care

When treating a patient it is very important not to isolate them. Keeping the family involved and preparing them for the road ahead is an important part of the process. Often times, a mother’s feelings of depression and anxiety can translate to the family. When this happens, it can be difficult for a partner or other family members to understand what is going on and know how they can help.

Partners will sometimes experience similar feelings and need help themselves. The Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders Program is there to help evaluate how the family functions and how they feel about their new roles. After identifying the issues, the family is educated by a licensed therapist on what is going on with the new mom and how their roles affect treatment and overall family cooperation.

The Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program’s patient and family-centered care approach also includes the family in treatment by providing new mom support groups, mother and baby support groups, couples therapy and group therapy.

The Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders care team provides targeted, effective treatment for all women and their families regardless of age, income, culture or education.