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Post Partum Depression Training


October 19, 2016

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


DPHHS to offer training to recognize the signs of

postpartum depression and other anxiety disorders


About 125 Montana medical professionals will gather in Helena October 20-21 for a training that focuses on recognizing the signs of and treatment for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as prenatal and postpartum depression, anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD and bipolar disorders.

The training, sponsored by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), will be held at the Radisson Colonial Hotel.

Psychiatrists, nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, mental health providers, childbirth professionals and social support providers from all over the state will attend the training. 

Bernadette Miller of the DPHHS Addictive and Mental Disorders Division said the perinatal period is considered the entire time from pregnancy through the first year after giving birth.  “This is a time of change and adjustment for the not just the mother, but for the father, infant and other family members,” she said. “When the mental health of the mother is compromised, it affects the entire family.”

Miller said up to 20 percent of pregnant women will experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy. About 10 percent of fathers experience depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Miller said the goal of the training is to raise awareness across the state and improve support and screenings for the most vulnerable. Those with a history of mood and anxiety difficulties are at the highest risk.  “I’m hopeful this training will provide an avenue for better prevention, support for all involved and earlier detection and treatment,” Miller said.

Symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders include loss of sleep, changes in eating or restricted eating, dehydration, variable mood, tearful, trouble with breast-feeding, loss of energy, increase in worry, persistent gloom, financial and self- esteem worries and suicidal thoughts.

The training will be led by Wendy Davis, PhD; Karen Horst, MD; and Pec Indman, MFT, EdD of Postpartum Support International (PSI). PSI is an organization that works to bring awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.