WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One day after the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health held its first meeting in Washington D.C., Miriam Carey, a 34-year old mother, drove her car with her one-year old baby in it into police barricades near the White House.
"Because Ms. Carey appears to have no motive and had her baby with her, we feel compelled to urge investigators to determine whether she was screened and being treated for a maternal mental health disorder," said Joy Burkhard, Founder of the Coalition and the 2020 Mom Project.
According to Postpartum Support International, up to 20 percent of pregnant women and new mothers will experience a maternal mental health disorder, yet most are never screened, diagnosed or treated.
Less than half a percent of new mothers will suffer from a psychosis, in which there is a severe break in reality. Up to five percent of mothers suffering from postpartum psychosis will commit suicide. "A woman with postpartum psychosis loses touch with reality," said Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD, LMFT, a forensic expert in maternal mental health. "She may also have false beliefs that she and/or her baby are in harm's way," she said.
Some reports indicate that Ms. Carey hadn't suffered from mental illness prior to having a baby, and the newest reports indicate medication to treat psychiatric disorders were found at her home. What many people don't understand is that women suffering from maternal mental health disorders could have no prior mental health problems.
"Women, families and health care providers need to know that pregnancy and postpartum mental health disorders are common, real and treatable. We can prevent escalation and crisis with access to qualified treatment and support," said Wendy Davis, PhD, Executive Director of Postpartum Support International.
"We are failing our mothers and families by not consistently screening, diagnosing and treating maternal mental health disorders," added Burkhard. "Millions are negatively impacted each year and we are working as fast as we can to change this," she said.
About the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health and the 2020 Mom Project
The National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health was formed in October 2013 and is hosted by the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative ("The Collaborative"). The 2020 Mom Project is a national campaign of the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative that sets forth recommendations for health care providers and health insurers surrounding the prevention and treatment of maternal mental health disorders. The Collaborative is a non-profit organization and formed at the urging of the California legislature through Assembly Concurrent Resolution 105, in 2011. The Collaborative is volunteer run and brings together private and public stakeholders including medical and mental health professionals, educators, community advocates and individuals who have experienced these disorders to raise awareness of maternal mental health disorders and provide a platform for change so suffering families can receive the help they need.
About Postpartum Support International
Postpartum Support International is dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression. Postpartum Support International works to educate and support family, friends and healthcare providers so that pregnant and postpartum women and their families get the support they need to recover.
For resources and support contact www.postpartum.net or 800-944-4773. (800-944-4PPD)
Wendy Davis, PhD
Postpartum Support International
Diana Lynn Barnes, PsyD, LMFT
SOURCE National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health