Mental Health Support

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What are four ways that your NICU social worker can be helpful to you?

  1. Your NICU social worker can serve as your advocate in procuring services for you to which you and your baby are entitled. These may include SSI and early intervention services for your baby, if she qualifies.
  2. Your social worker may be able to help you with practical issues around visiting your baby, such as providing assistance with transportation needs and even meals while visiting at the hospital.
  3. Your social worker is there to provide you with support. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, just ask to speak with the social worker. Social workers are supposed to make contact with every NICU family during your baby’s stay.
  4. Your social worker can help arrange meetings with your baby’s medical team, if you feel that assistance is necessary, and she can serve as a bridge to help you communicate with them if needed.

 


 

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Recommendations for NICU Mental Health Professionals:  Read the recommendations of the Workgroup on Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents.

Prevalence Perinatal Mood Disorders – Segre: This is an informational handout describing the prevalence of maternal depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress syndrome.  Written by Lisa Segre, PhD, psychologist.

Could You Have PTSD?, blog written by Sue Hall MD.

5 Myths about the NICU for Parents


 

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TAKE A MOOD SCREENING TEST: If you haven’t been feeling perfectly “yourself” lately, please visit this page.  Your mental well-being is important!

Common Parent Reactions to the NICU, on the website of healthychildren.org, created by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Reacciones comunes de los padres hacia la Unidad de cuidados intensivos neonatales, as above en Español.

Depression During and After Pregnancy:  a downloadable booklet for women, their family and friends produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

La Depresión Durante y Despues del Embarazo, as above, en Español.

Postpartum Depression: Frequently Asked Questions from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ website.

Emotional Reactions to the NICU Experience, blog by Sue Hall MD on the website peekabooicu.net.

How do I know if I have perinatal depression?  Look over this short checklist if you are wondering.

MedEdPPD:  This is an educational site about postpartum depression (depresión postparto) for women, developed by the National Institutes of Health.  It has a downloadable brochure which is in English and also in Spanish/Español, and videos of patients telling their stories.

Top ten myths about postpartum depression:  Also on the MedEdPPD website.

Pharmacologic Treatment During Pregnancy:  Weighing the Risks.  A discussion on the website of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Mental Health about the risks and benefits of using various medications to treat mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy.

Partners to Parents:  Provides practical tips for expectant and new parents on how to stay connected, communicate, and navigate your relationship.

A Mother’s Postpartum Depression Bill of Rights, on the website of Postpartum Progress.

Taking Care of You, a downloadable resource produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically for parents with babies in the NICU.

Trying to Conceive, Pregnancy and Mental Health, on the website of WomensHealth.gov.  Find information about how both infertility and pregnancy can affect a woman’s mental health.  Also learn the difference between postpartum blues (the “baby blues”) and postpartum depression.

Understanding PTSD: When the Stress of the NICU Persists, blog on Hand to Hold website by Blaine H. Carr, PhD.

The Blue Dot Project, where moms with postpartum depression and/or anxiety can get information and support.

PostpartumDepression.org:  a site started by a couple who went through postpartum depression, to help other parents.


 

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Postpartum Progress, an organization providing resources and support to mothers experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

Postpartum Support International, an organization providing resources and support to women who develop postpartum depression.


 

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Speakers

Are you interested in having someone speak to your staff, organization, or network about how mental health professionals can be helpful to parents in the NICU and beyond? Click on the icon to go to our Speaker’s Bureau page to learn more about these speakers.

Erika Goyer, National Perinatal Association, family advocate

Sue Hall, MD, neonatologist

Mike Hynan, PhD, psychologist

Steve Lassen, PhD, psychologist

Cheryl Milford, EdS, psychologist

Chavis Patterson, PhD, psychologist

Lisa Segre, PhD, psychologist