Maternal Mental Health and Access to Care in Lancaster County

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One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is networking with other business owners. Recently, I met with two doulas (in case you don’t know what that is, check out their websites: Keystone State Doulas and Lancaster Doulas). These women are on the front lines, so to speak, in helping women through all parts of pregnancy, labor, delivery and the postpartum period. They are amazing at what they do and it is obvious they care so much about the women they work with. As soon as I told them I am a mental health counselor, they told me there are virtually NO mental health services in Lancaster County for women struggling with maternal mental health issues.

I was shocked by this. It seems like we have a professional for every other specialty–why not women who are struggling with maternal mental health issues? I started doing some research and reading up on this topic. I was fascinated by the subject and quickly realized what a good fit this was for me (and our counselor Melissa) because the main treatment for maternal mental health issues is what we already love doing — cognitive behavioral therapy.

I feel especially passionate about this topic because I recently experienced what it’s like to have a baby and feel like you are struggling–even if you are not grappling with a mental health issue–becoming a new mom is HARD. The hardest thing I have ever done. And what if on top of that you feel depressed or anxious? The statistics are that 1 in 7 women will develop a mental health disorder during pregnancy or postpartum. There are many women in Lancaster County that need help and have no where to go to get mental health services from a professional who understands their unique needs.

I am pleased to announce that very soon, Melissa and I will be offering mental health counseling at our practice for women struggling with maternal mental health disorders. We have been completing trainings on this topic and feel excited about offering this service to women in Lancaster County.

I will also be participating in a fundraiser to raise money for an organization called Postpartum Progress that helps raise awareness of maternal mental health issues. Click here for the link if you would like to learn more or donate to our cause.

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Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC

Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: alison@moveforwardlancaster.com.