Delane-CasianoTheAmerican Psychological Association estimates that 9 to 16 percent of post-partumwomen experience depression. Without proper care, this mental health issue cancause many problems for both the mother and her entire family. 

Althoughthis condition –- and other mental health and mood disorders -- are common,stigma and other factors stop many of these mothers from receiving the helpthey need. The Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness (PCWBW) inPsychiatry is working to change that, with help from a Penn Medicine CAREsgrant.

“We seewomen across the reproductive life cycle with behavioral health problems,including depression, anxiety, mood disorders such as post-partum depression,mood changes during menopause, and more,” said Penn psychiatrist DelaneCasiano, MD, director of the Maternal Wellness Initiative (MWI), a division ofPCWBW that offers integrated behavioral health and Ob/Gyn services at HUP’sHelen O. Dickens Center. Casiano works with Liisa Hantsoo, PhD, postdoctoral fellow.

“Manywomen see their Ob/Gyn providers routinely, and by offering co-located mentalhealth services, we're hoping to reach more women who could benefit,” saidHantsoo, who provides cognitive behavioral therapy treatments for depression,relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, supportive psychotherapy, andother services.  For example, if apregnant woman comes in, is seen by a nurse practitioner or obstetrician, andbecomes tearful during a visit, saying she has a lot of stress, the patientwill be referred to the social worker. The social worker completes a behavioralhealth screen, then sends the patient to the MWI. Significant collaboration atall stages helps ensure comprehensive care for all patients.         

TheCAREs grant will help promote those services and help more women through theMWI patient education division. Casiano and Hantsoo also anticipate hosting aseries of classes as well, such as a support group for fathers, depression,stress during pregnancy, etc.

On-site services began July 2012. “We’re thriving, and we’re growing,” saidCasiano.

Photo above: Delane Casiano, MD


Are youinvolved in a community outreach activity? If so, it may be eligible to receive a Penn Medicine CAREs grant.Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted until Friday, March1.  For more information or to apply,please go to click on ‘Foundation Grant.’

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