Supporting loved ones with postpartum depression

Kimberly Wong, Postpartum Depression Activist, shares advice on how to best support a loved one who is struggling with postpartum depression
How To Support A Loved One WIth Postpartum Depression
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Supporting loved ones with postpartum depression

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Partners are absolutely critical in helping a woman recover from postpartum depression and related mood disorders. Number one, it is important that all partners and close family members and close friends learn about the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder. Such as a woman who is normally very talkative, suddenly is withdrawn. A woman who is able to sleep well on her own, even if her baby is being cared for, suddenly cannot sleep, is pacing around, is crying inconsoleably and often, has very little pleasure experiencing things she normally likes to do, suddenly doesn't have an appetite, and does not want to interact with the baby. These are some of the things to look for. What's important is that the partner, family, and friends not judge the woman suffering as a bad mother. This is not issue. The issue is that the mother, through no fault of her own, is experiencing a severe chemical change resulting from the hormonal changes and processes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum. The key is to give the woman support and not judge her. Look for services in the community as well. When a woman is suffering, she is the least able to help herself or to look for services in the community.

Kimberly Wong, Postpartum Depression Activist, shares advice on how to best support a loved one who is struggling with postpartum depression

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Kimberly Wong

Postpartum Depression Activist

Kimberly Wong, Founder and Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, has been an attorney with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office for 17 years and serves as Special Counsel/Legislative Analyst to the Public Defender. Kimberly co-chairs the Legislative Issues Committee of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council and is a member of the Council’s Executive Committee. As a result of suffering life-threatening postpartum depression in 2003, after her recovery, Kimberly focused on volunteer activity to promote awareness and to increase knowledge about maternal depression. She volunteered as a phone support volunteer through Postpartum Support International and then served on the Board of PSI for three years. 

In February 2007, Ms. Wong formed and currently co-chairs the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, a network of over 30 individuals representing more than 15 public and private agencies involved in outreach, screening, and treatment services for perinatal depression and related mood disorders, along with community leaders, research partners, and advocates for mothers, infants, and families. The mission of the Task Force is to create an infrastructure in Los Angeles County to address perinatal mood disorders through education, universal screening and linkage to informed services, with particular focus on high risk women and girls, including those who are court involved, substance abusers and domestic violence victims. The Task Force is a project of Community Partners, its 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. 

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