August 23, 2015
Hello and Happy Summer!
PSI President Ann Smith
It's early August and I am still basking in the glow of the 28th annual PSI conference held this year in Plymouth Michigan. We all learned and laughed and cried from and with our colleagues who are doing remarkable work all over this great country and abroad. It was a time of solidifying old connections and making new ones. Thanks especially to Pam Moffitt from Tree of Hope Foundation which partnered with us, Wendy Davis, Executive Director at PSI, and Lianne Swanson, PSI Office Manager and Bookstore Expert, for their superb organizing. We had wonderful, innovative presentations and spectacular keynotes culminating in the most poignant, touching, dramatic and remarkable speech from George Parnham that I've ever heard him give (and I've heard doozies in the past). It ended with these words, which have been widely quoted by now on social media, "Every child deserves to be raised by a woman as free from mental illness as possible". For that to happen, PSI needs to continue to grow and be available to all moms and families who need us to make sure they know they are not alone and with help they will be well.
If you were not able to be with us this year we hope you will consider it next year when we will again convene June 22-25, 2016 in San Diego California
PSI is healthy and strong and growing at a remarkable rate. We love having as members all the folks from Repro Psych who add another dimension to the " leading organization focused on perinatal mood disorders" as the media now refers to us. And we plan to form state chapters, embark on training for legal and law enforcement professionals , collaborate with other organizations also focused on women's mental health, and begin a training program for professionals who might be most likely to see a suffering mom before anyone else. Stay tuned for updates in coming months.
I send much gratitude to PSI volunteers wherever they may be, and to our loyal members. If you are currently a member thank you and please continue. We can't do it without you. If not please become one. Lianne at the PSI office will set you right up or you can go online and renew
. Check out our new website at www.postpartum.net
Best wishes for late Summer and Fall projects!
Ann Smith, CNM
President, Postpartum Support International
PSI holds 28th Annual Conference
in Plymouth Michigan
George Parnham, JD, attorney for Andrea Yates, gave a moving keynote presentation at the 28th annual PSI conference. Parnham spoke of Andrea’s love for her children and shared a photo of the four boys in costumes that Andrea had sewn. He explained that Andrea had a long history of mental illness, and was released from the hospital while on suicide watch because her insurance had run out. According to Parnham, Andrea killed her children out of love. Andrea felt that her children had to die to be saved, otherwise Satan would envelop their souls and drag them into hell for all eternity.
Parnham ended with the quote, “Every child deserves to be raised by a mother as free of mental illness as possible.” The quote was intended to encourage all women who are experiencing a perinatal mood disorder to get treatment and support.
When she drowned her children, Andrea was experiencing a postpartum psychosis (PPP). The first ever support group for PPP survivors was held at the PSI conference. Seven PPP survivors attended the conference, and four of those attended the support group session. Several others wanted to attend, but were unable to make this year’s event. This dedicated group of PSI volunteers is working to reduce the stigma of maternal mental illness, especially PPP, and to encourage better treatment options for all women who experience a perinatal mental health crisis.
As a follow-up, PSI will hold its first legal resources training at H2Ocean Restaurant in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey on October 23. We'll have a dinner gathering Thursday October 22nd, open to all, and the legal issues seminar on Friday the 23rd. George Parnham and Margaret Spinelli MD will lead the training.
PSI Conference 2015 --
A Beginner’s Impressions
by Vanessa Park
I was there to learn, support in any way I could, and, well… learn. As a relatively new PSI board member, and the only one with zero experience with perinatal mood disorders—I am neither a health practitioner nor a survivor—what I lacked in specific knowledge I made up for with a fierce feminist spirit and a passion for women’s mental health in general. Still, I wanted to immerse myself while I was at the conference, and even signed up for the two day training that took place just before the conference officially began.
What I came away with:
PSI is a profoundly significant organization. Not that I didn’t know that already, but seeing the conference—complete with training, bookstore sales, banquets, receptions, support groups—unfold with machine-like perfection was a hint that these people don’t mess around. It is clear why the annual PSI conference is THE perinatal mood disorder conference for practitioners and volunteers. Not only that, but the respect PSI has earned from men and women in health fields across the nation and the world was obvious. Testimonials of all kinds—at a dinner table, in the lunch line, or over the microphone at the beginning of a break-out session—were in evidence everywhere. People were moved to say why PSI is so important to them, to their clients, to women and families everywhere.
There is a lot to learn. Not just for me (who has pretty much everything to learn, minus what I absorbed over those four days in June), but for everyone. There is new research being done all the time. There are constant breakthroughs in understanding perinatal mood disorders and in treatment options. But there is a lot of ignorance. Too much of the world blithely lives in the dark. People do not realize there is such a thing as a perinatal mood disorder, or, almost worse, they completely misunderstand what it means and what it is. The results of this ignorance can be dire. Women lost to their loved ones to death or incarceration when early awareness and intervention could and should have made all the difference.
Sorrow and hardship are very real. I have to admit that there were two times during the conference that I had to give myself a time out. Not because I’m afraid of feelings, or in denial about the rawness that is possible in this life. Though I’ve gotten a lot better at clarifying my emotional boundaries, I absorb a whole lot. That’s me. And there was a lot to take on as the days went by. I expect there were others who felt, and did, the same. One lesson to be taken from that: women need to take care of themselves. When life threatens to overwhelm, find a way to reestablish your center before the “overwhelm” part actually happens. In any case, it is impossible to dedicate yourself to any cause worth its salt without facing the very real truth that there is suffering out there. One in seven women suffers from a perinatal mood disorder and there is help out there for all of them. It’s called PSI.
People are good. Being at this conference was a reminder that, despite the everyday headlines about the brutal, selfish, bigoted acts carried out by the few, the majority of people want to do what is right. They don’t always know how, and sometimes they stumble on the path, but human beings can feel love and empathy. The attendees at the conference in Michigan were testimony to that spirit of selflessness combined with righteous outrage on behalf of those who suffer, coated with a heavy frosting of pure generous-hearted love. Women and men who dedicate their careers, even lives, to helping others. Inspiring? Pretty much.
Volunteerism works. One single person does make a difference. Sitting at home and thinking, “Wow, I wish I could do something,” can turn into, “I’m going to do something.” I met countless people at the conference who volunteer their time, expertise, and caring to helping women and families who suffer at the hands of depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or psychosis around pregnancy and childbirth. Any of them who has helped even one person would agree with me that volunteering really does make a difference.
I left the conference with my commitment to PSI renewed and my brain—and heart—quite full. Knowing there is always something more to learn and do, I’ll be back again next year.
Conference Recordings Available
The conference keynotes and breakouts were all so good, and there were so many excellent breakouts to choose from. We are so thankful for our informed and inspiring keynote speakers, breakout presenters, and attendees. You can take a look at the conference workshop descriptions and speaker biographies on the PSI website. If you would like recordings of any of the sessions, you can order them from Back Country Recording at the link below. We are pleased to be able to offer you conference recordings at low cost. You’ll find the order form here.
PSI 29th Annual Conference
June 22-25, 2016
San Diego California!
- 6/22-23 PSI Certificate Training
- 6/23 PSI Coordinators/Volunteers Meeting & Dinner
- 6/24-25 Main Conference
Social Media Volunteers
PSI is adding to its social media presence every day. Please write to Wendy Davis at email@example.com if you are interested in being one of the PSI virtual volunteers. If you like to tweet, post, link, and connect, or simply want to add creative ideas and messages to our online communication, we'd love your help. Come help us reach moms, families, and providers through online media. Your experience with Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus, and other online wizardry is needed.
Find PSI on YouTube Channel, Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Meet the PSI Board
and President's Advisory Council
PSI Online Support Groups
Coming this Fall!
We're thrilled to announce that PSI will launch online support groups this fall, including one in Spanish, with the support of Support Groups Central
. Support Groups Central (SGC) offers web conference-based peer support and informative meetings during which participants can see their group leader, material can be presented, and everyone can talk with each other. Participants can join a meeting from the comfort and privacy of their homes, and choose whether to give their name or choose an online nickname. Groups are accessible by computer, tablet, or phone, and are free of charge (although donations are accepted.) Our PSI online groups will include a Spanish-speaking group facilitated by PSI Spanish warmline coordinator Marisela Rosales and NY Co-Coordinator Laudy Burgos. Other facilitators are Mel Hoffman, Birdie Gunyon Meyer, LaShonta Edwards, and Michelle Harvey, who has been facilitating online PMD groups with SGC, and presented her work at the PSI Michigan Conference. Watch the PSI Website for more information, coming soon!
Upcoming PSI Trainings
PSI Certificate Training
Great Neck New York
October 19-20, 2015
PSI Legal Seminar
Maternal Mental Illness and The Law
Cedar Knolls, New Jersey
Dinner October 22, 2015
Seminar October 23, 2015
PSI Certificate Training
Nov 30 - Dec 1, 2015
contact Birdie Meyer
PSI Certificate Training
January 28-29, 2016
PSI Certificate Training
February 17-18, 2016
contact Birdie Meyer
PSI Certificate Training & Conference
San Diego CA
June 22-25, 2016
29th Annual Conference
Tain L'Hermitage, France
Repro Psych Seminar
Sep. 28 - Oct.2, 2015
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): Oguz Omay, MD
- Trauma in the Perinatal Period: Leslie Butterfield, PhD and Birdie Meyer, RN, MA, CLC
- Repro Psych Seminar 2-Day Training, facilitated by Adrienne Einarson, RN, Repro Psych Group Founder. Facilitation with 12 Repro Psych expert topics and group seminar discussion.
Help PSI Help Families
We are so grateful for your support. Your donation helps us sustain and improve PSI programs and services. Our worldwide volunteers and warmline operations are supported directly by your contributions! It's easy to donate.
at our Network for Good
link where you can make a tax-deductible donation. You can choose to make a single donation, make it in honor of a special person, or set it up to select a recurring donation. PSI is grateful and moved by your generosity. Thank you!
If you'd like to Join PSI
and be part of our global network of community support, Learn more here.
in your community, on our national warmline, or online, read more here.
If you need help, call us at 1-800-944-4773. We're here every day, providing support and finding resources near you.
Learn about PSI Chat with an Expert,
every Wed for moms, first Monday of each month for Dads.
Find your local
PSI Support Coordinators
Let your PSI Representative know you're there!
We received a wonderful letter from our PSI Indonesia volunteer Yana about the first meetings and trainings of social support volunteers in Indonesia. Please read Yana's letter below to hear of their progress. We're so proud of Yana and the whole Peduli Kesehatan Jiwa Ibu Perinatal Indonesia community.
Volunteer Educational Training I, An Introduction Of Perinatal Mood And Anxiety Disorder By Nuzulia (Lia), psychologist
Dear Wendy and PSI -- I would like to share our First Volunteer Educational Training which was held on May 1st 2015 at Fatmawati 100C, South Jakarta, Indonesia.
First, we introduced our community to our volunteer, vision, mission, programmes by Mr Supriyatno, founder.
Second, Nuzulia Rahma Tristinarum (our psychologist) give an education about what PMAD is, what the types are, etc.
Third, volunteer job description by me.
Fourth, How to give an empathy for mothers who suffered with PMADs, how to communicate and give trust to them without judging by Rahmawati ( our Psychologist)
6 wonderful volunteers have attended our meeting and we are very happy and proud of them. One of our volunteers is a young man, he is a young practitioner psychologist who is very enthusiastic to help mother with PMAD.
I also introduced PSI as an International Community that has helped us very much to build our community in Indonesia and PSI is one of our best resources related to PMAD.
On May 24th we had a psychoeducation at Midwife Netti Novianti's Clinic on Tangerang about "What Baby Blues Syndrome And Postpartum Depression are" to the expecting mothers. We learned about baby blues syndrome, PPA and PPD, and more than 30 expecting mothers attended. See the picture below.
On June 7th we had a Pregnancy And Baby Loss Workshop "How To Through A Hard Time After Miscarriage And Baby-Infant Death", at Nutrifood Inspiring Center, Matraman, Center Jakarta. 15 participants have attended our workshop. You can see the picture below.
Thank You Wendy and PSI, we love you so much :)
On the beginning of 2015, I searched on google to seek for any international support groups related to Postpartum Depression, and finally I found Postpartum Support International (PSI), I introduced my self first to Wendy Davis PhD and she allowed me to learn much through PSI Social Support Webinar Series, every twice of month on Wednesday. How surprised I was, I only knew baby blues syndrome, PPD and PPP, but now I know PMADs has many faces include in Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and etc. PSI webinar series has began since January 2015 and ended on June 17th. There were a lot of wonderful topics from the amazing and great speakers in PSI's webinar each week. I have enjoyed all of PSI Social Support Webinar Series, from my roles as a volunteer, how to build a group step by step, any stigmas or issues which grow up in a culture, dad's support, promote our group and many reliable resources, groups, websites, so..so complete!
PSI not only help mothers and families in USA but also around the world, my country, Indonesia, is one of them. We could not have done it without you Postpartum Support International.