World Maternal Mental Health Day: Nonprofit shares how the day aims to help new moms struggling with mental health – WTOP News

Postpartum Support International is a nonprofit group that supports new moms with services like one-on-one mentors, an in-depth physician directory, and monthly support groups.

A worldwide day of support aims to help new mums struggling with mental health issues.

Jennifer Davis with her two children, Jordyn, 11, and AJ, 4. (Courtesy of Jennifer Davis)

Maryland resident Jennifer Davis remembers mood swings, loneliness and sadness shortly after leaving the hospital with her daughter 11 years ago.

It was mostly anxiety and intrusive thoughts, she said. Not being able to function normally after coming home with her. And I didn’t have the words to explain or describe what I felt.

Seven years later, feelings resurfaced after the birth of their son. He kept his feelings hidden.

I had support systems, but I didn’t talk to anyone, Davis, 40, told WTOP. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to stress anyone out.

Years later, through an online search, she discovered that she battled postpartum mental health disorders after giving birth to her daughter, Jordyn, and son, AJ.

During that search, Davis came across the website Postpartum Support International (PSI), a nonprofit group that supports new mothers with services such as one-on-one mentors, an in-depth physician directory, and monthly support groups.

He said the information uncovered would have changed the way he looked after himself during the tumultuous time of being a new parent.

She was trying to work with people who weren’t going through it because perinatal mental health disorders are so common, she said. There was a whole community of individuals who understood. If I had known it would have been a game changer for me.

Davis is now with PSI as the Chapter Program Director.

The group joins other national and international mothering support organizations on Wednesday to mark World Maternal Mental Health Day. May is also National Mental Health Month.

The goal is to reach as many women as possible, said Wendy Davis, PSI’s executive director.

(Courtesy of Jennifer Davis)

“The reason we don’t seek help with any of the perinatal mental health disorders is that we don’t realize that’s what they’re going through,” said Davis, who is not related to Jennifer Davis. We just think they were failing. You are afraid that people will think badly of you.

More than 800,000 women experience perinatal mental health disorders, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis, each year, but only 25% of them receive treatment, according to PSI.

And one in 10 men experience depression or anxiety related to the perinatal period, Wendy Davis said.

Many times, parents adjusting to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and the usual challenges of caring for a newborn can’t tell the difference between feelings that are normal and feelings that require attention.

(Courtesy of Jennifer Davis)

The high expectation of having a baby is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, compared to the actual experience, it’s difficult, the executive director said. The result of this is running and hiding for so many people.

In addition to spreading awareness of perinatal mental health disorders, PSI wants to address the social stigma associated with the condition.

The group has a new app and campaign, called the Blue Dot Project, that aims to quickly connect more women with the help they need.

Jennifer Davis said the group’s overall message to women during pregnancy and the year after the baby arrives is to show yourself some grace.

I would say to them: You are doing an amazing job right now. And you just know you can reach out and talk to someone, he said. You just know you’re doing an amazing job.

Pregnant and postpartum parents can call the PSI Helpline for support and resources at 1-800-944-4773 (English and Spanish), text help at 1-800-944-4773 (English ), 971-203-7773 (Spanish), or visit

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