May Is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Month: Get the Facts

A woman looks depressed as she holds her baby.Yes, May is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Month in the Unites States. That sure sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? And what is “perinatal” anyhow?

“Perinatal” pertains to the period of time from conception, through pregnancy, and up to a year postpartum (after having a baby). It is a very important time in a woman’s life where she is vulnerable to the number one complication of having a baby: perinatal depression.

That’s why so many important nonprofits and task forces are working hard to get the word out about perinatal mental health awareness. Just this month (May 2011), Postpartum Support International, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to perinatal mental health awareness, declared May as National Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Month. The Los Angeles Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, headed by Kimberly Wong, declared May Perinatal Awareness Month in Los Angeles. So yes, this is a very important subject and one which is worthy of exploring, destigmatizing, and getting the facts.

So here they are, in a nutshell:

  • Up to 20% of all childbearing women experience a PMAD (perinatal mood/anxiety disorder)
  • Perinatal depression is very treatable and temporary. Help is available. With intervention, women heal and recover. Please look at PSI’s website (below) for local support and resources in your area.
  • Stigma and misinformation, among other barriers, prevent women from getting the help they need. Women dealing with PMAD are not what sensationalist media portrays them to be. Get the facts from PSI and Postpartum Progress.
  • There are many causes for PMADs, but it is never the woman’s fault. Usually there are a combination of biochemical influences with poorly timed perinatal psychological challenges.
  • PMADs do not discriminate. Any woman can have it, and any woman will get better with help.
  • If you suspect you might be experiencing a PMAD, do not delay. Peruse the websites below for more information on where to get help.

Excellent resources to get help/education on the subject:

© Copyright 2011 by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, therapist in San Dimas, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Jocelyn


    May 23rd, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    This is something that we have to get the word out about. I think that there are too many people who push these concerns to the side but they are very real and can cause a lot of problems when they go unnoticed and unrecognized. Women often feel overwhelmed by pregnancy and childbirth, and while they are events to be celebrated they are a time that for many can be so scary and frightening too. We have for the most part all been in their shoes, so now is the time to speak up and get the word out that there is help out there to those who need it.

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    May 23rd, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Please also note the following addendum: The Los Angeles Perinatal Mental Health Task Force worked with Junior Leagues State Public Affairs Committee and the California State Legislature who proclaimed May to be Perinatal Depression Awareness Month throughout the State of California. The Task Force also worked with the LA County Board of Supervivors who concurrently proclaimed the month of May as Perinatal Depression Awareness Month thoughout Los Angeles County, per Kimberly Wong, Esq., Founder of Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force.

  • SR


    May 24th, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    It’s encouraging to see that awareness is being spread about this very important issue.Not much of an education with regard to perinatal health risks is present in the people and it will be good if there are events and awareness months like this one.

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