Mental Health Professionals
Postpartum Support Virginia maintains listings of mental health professionals who specialize in treating women experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) OR have been recommended by women who sought treatment for PMADs. Listings are updated every six months; contact PSVa to add or update information.
Medical professionals play an important role in assisting women with postpartum depression. New mothers can talk with their obstetrician / gynecologist, primary care provider, or pediatrician. These doctors can help rule out underlying medical conditions – such as thyroid changes and anemia – that can occur during or following pregnancy. Mental health professionals can assist with counseling and medication when necessary.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can perform a full psychiatric assessment (including testing to screen conditions such as thyroid changes or anemia) and prescribe medication.
Psychologists, counselors, and social workers provide talk therapy, a key component in treating postpartum mood disorders. These individuals can provide counseling, information, and resources, but they cannot prescribe or monitor medication.
Wondering how to start the conversation? Here are some tools to help:
- PPD Risk Assessment During Pregnancy from The Postpartum Stress Center can be helpful in identifying risk factors for anxiety and depression, and also identify which risk factors can be addressed to lessen risk, and mobilize your support network. NOTE: while this tool is titled “During Pregnancy” it is still of use for during the entire perinatal time frame.
- New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help from Postpartum Progress is a checklist to facilitate helpful conversation between struggling mothers and professionals. This can help both mothers and their clinicians get a clear picture of how to best get treatment.
- Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS): is a screening tool to be used by a licensed health care provider and may be part of your first appointment with a provider.
The DMV PMH (Perinatal Mental Health) Resource Guide is a comprehensive and current regional listing of specialized mental health providers, support groups, advocacy organizations, and other relevant clinical resources pertaining to perinatal mental health in the DC-MD-VA area.