As many of you know, there was an incident in Sacramento, California last week, where a mom went for her 6-week postpartum check at her OB office, was seen by the NP to whom she confided her feelings of depression, anger and violent intrusive thoughts, and asked for a referral to get help. The next thing that happened was that the police arrived, and she was forced to go to the ER where she was held until midnight and then sent home with her husband and family without any referral for treatment. Rocked by the experience, shortly thereafter this mom posted about her experience on FB and it has gone viral on social media. (links below)
PSI’s first response was to make sure the mom who posted the story had support. We enlisted our local support coordinator and connected the mom and our volunteer right away. We wanted her to know that support is just a phone call or text away, and we provide that for any family who needs help. As you all know, this was our first and most important task -- which seems even more apparent this week as we watch (and are part of) the viral media and social media storm that has continued.
We want you to know that in our posts and private conversations, PSI is focused on the need for more training and support and less stigma. We do not want to shame/blame the provider. Our message is that the safety of mother and baby is paramount, but that we want to equip providers with the tools and skills they need to competently screen or assess, refer, or treat their patients with perinatal mental health complications.
We are confident that our new PSI programs address this goal, and excited to announce them in the coming month. We will launch our 6-hour Frontline Provider Trainings and a National Perinatal Mental Health Consultation Service (telephone) in March. Our message is that an understanding of PMADs in all its forms is critical for anyone in a position to see pregnant or postpartum mothers and fathers.
Our other primary goal this week is to help families who are now frightened by this viral story.
“I can’t tell my doctor; she’ll call the police.”
We are watchful on social media, our volunteers are hearing about this fear in emails, calls, and in support groups. We don’t want the message of this story to be that families shouldn't reach out, and providers don’t know how to help. Just the opposite! We want families and providers to have everything they need, and we are here to help with resources and education.
If you are in a position to speak to media about this or be quoted, please do let people know that PSI is here, every day, providing both families and providers the support and resources they need. Families and providers can call PSI at 800-944-4773 (English and Spanish) or visit
Best wishes to all in the new year --
PSI Executive Director