October 27, 2014 

President's Corner

Hello from Ann Smith, PSI President
This is my first message as President of PSI. I assumed office in July 2014. It is a great honor to lead this fine organization and stand on the shoulders of many wonderful people who have built and nurtured it.

2014-2015 will be a time of many innovations at PSI. We are investigating how best to assist our members and colleagues so they can become PSI Chapters and affiliates. We are beginning an initiative, requested by our dear friend and President's Advisory Committee member George Parnham, JD, to train law enforcement and lawyers in perinatal mood disorders as well as to instruct expert witnesses about testifying when needed. We are building up our cultural competence with a new active Board Committee which is looking at ways to better serve all moms and families. We are hoping to improve our fundraising capabilities in order to have the resources to reach ever more women and families in need. We are developing a new group of PSI Social Media volunteers and are excited to invite you to become one of our PSI virtual volunteers. And we have a new Task Force and Postpartum Psychosis Coordinator to better assist women and families struggling with this diagnosis. Read our Newsletter article this month, "PSI and Postpartum Psychosis" to learn more.

These are just just a few of the new projects coming down the path, we're excited to share more throughout the year. Please stay tuned for more initiatives starting soon which I will discuss in our next newsletter.

Of course we couldn't do any of these things without you, our wonderful volunteers and members. Please continue in your good work and interest in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Let us know how we can assist you as you assist others. Continue to recommend becoming a PSI member to others whenever it seems appropriate. And don't forget to think ahead and plan to be at to our next wonderful Conference June 26-27, 2015 in Plymouth Michigan.


Ann Smith, MSN, CNM, President PSI


PSI 28th Annual Conference
with Tree of Hope Foundation
Plymouth Michigan
Save the Date! 
June 24-27, 2015

Planting seeds of hope: overcoming stigma, increasing options and embracing innovative treatments

Call for proposals
Applications due by December 1, 2014

Download Proposal Application Here

Some comments from our 2014 Training and Conference Attendees:

"The training was awesome,  so glad I was able to attend. The entire conference was terrific!!" 

"The training was outstanding—I've drawn upon ideas and information from PSI numerous times already this past week alone."

"The PSI training was amazing!  Thank you so much for offering this training.  I was also thrilled to be among other women who are deeply passionate about perinatal mood disorders."  

"What a wonderful, intense and fun experience. I learned so much and met so many great people. The certificate training was the best training I have attended."



Social Media Volunteers

PSI is adding to its social media presence every day. Please write to Wendy Davis at 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. 


PSI Fundraising

Open Board Position and Committee members needed!

Do you love creating events for a great cause, working with passionate and dedicated advocates, and raising money to help families? PSI needs you!

The PSI Fundraising Chair is a volunteer board position, working  in collaboration with other PSI Board members and committees, staff, and PSI members to coordinate fundraising projects and events throughout the year. Candidate needs to have experience with successful fundraising, and must be willing to volunteer approximately five to ten hours per month serving in this capacity.

Candidate's locale is not relevant but must be able to attend annual PSI June conference, monthly board meetings via telephone, and annual board retreat in January. The PSI Board is committed to diversity and includes members with a variety of backgrounds on the board. Please don't hesitate to contact us to learn more. 

If you'd like to join the Fundraising Committee, but not as the Chairperson, we would LOVE to hear from you -- please let us know! 

Join our active board and dedicated PSI members to support the emotional needs of pregnant and postpartum families. 
To obtain more information or submit a resume and application, please contact PSI Secretary Lita Simanis at


PSI NEWS Submissions

PSI NEWS is seeking informative news or feature articles from professionals, news from regions and PSI volunteers, and personal stories of recovery. Write to us at for more information or to submit your news items. We'd love to hear from you!
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.

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. 

To volunteer 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 PSI on our YouTube Channel, Linked In, Twitter, and Facebook


  • PSI 2-day Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder Certificate Course
    Cadillac Michigan

    November 6-7, 2014
    Info and Registration

  • PSI 2-day Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder Certificate Course

    March 26-27, 2015
    More info coming soon!

  • PSI Annual Conference June 2015
    Plymouth, Michigan

    6/24-25 PSI Training
    6/26-27 Main Conference
  • Call for Proposals

  • Tain L'Hermitage, FRANCE!
    Reproductive Psych Group Seminar & Workshops
    Sep. 28 - Oct.2, 2015 
    • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) Training by Oguz Omay, MD
    • Trauma and Perinatal Mental Health by Leslie Butterfield, PhD, and Birdie Meyer, RN, MA, CLC
    • Reproductive Psychiatry Workshop, moderated by Adrienne Einarson, RN, and Nicole Cirino, MD


PSI and Postpartum Psychosis:
Our commitment to reducing stigma and increasing services

by Karen Riomondo,MFA, PSI Volunteer, and Wendy Davis, PhD, Executive Director

The earthquake begins with a slow rumble; the fear rises but the rattling can still be explained away. As it builds things begin to move and rearrange; furniture from here moves over there and some just disappears. When it’s done the sirens are coming and nothing is the way it was or the way it is supposed to be.

For women and families living with postpartum psychosis, their expectations of becoming mothers are turned upside down and sometimes shattered by this most serious perinatal psychiatric illness. Until now the public discussion has been largely single minded, choosing to focus on attention-grabbing headlines while creating a stigma for survivors and women still struggling, in some cases preventing them from seeking the care they so desperately need. Postpartum Support International knows that even in the most tragic examples, women battling postpartum psychosis don’t stop being victims of illness. We are committed to work toward changing public opinion and improving recognition and services for this often misunderstood postpartum disorder.

Postpartum psychosis is a temporary mental illness, unique from postpartum depression and from chronic psychiatric disorders. The symptoms of postpartum psychosis most often begin within the first 2 weeks postpartum, and can include delusions, hallucinations, delirium, mania, or paranoia. In the mind of a woman experiencing postpartum psychosis, abnormal becomes normal and sometimes tragic acts seem the only correct path through her disordered thoughts.

Studies report a prevalence of psychosis in 1 - 2 per thousand women after pregnancy, and of those women, there is statistically a 5% suicide rate and 4% infanticide rate. With proper and timely care symptoms are treatable and tragedies preventable. It is essential to understand that in spite of the tragic possibilities, well over 90% of women who have postpartum psychosis do not attempt to harm anyone.  It is the position of PSI that that those few who are unfortunate enough to harm their children during a psychotic break deserve our support and sympathy, as tragedies that result from this illness reflect not a moral failing but a lack of adequate services.

Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency that cannot and should not be fought alone and yet there are women and families battling this illness alone, right now, in their own hells.  Postpartum Support International has always recognized the severity and included postpartum psychosis care in its services, but we recognize that we can do even more to support women and their families, train providers and raise public awareness.

Here is what we are doing now:

  • The “Get the Facts” section of our website describes the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and the urgency to get professional help.
  • On our telephone warmline (800-944-4773) we support families who call to enlist our help in understanding the terrifying symptoms and best interventions for psychosis.
  • Our Pen-Pal Network for Incarcerated Women, coordinated by Corinne Reilly, sustains communication among advocates and women incarcerated for crimes committed during the perinatal period.
  • We have created a PSI position statement for crimes related to perinatal mental illness.
  • In our PSI Trainings we educate providers about risks, symptoms, prevention, and treatment for psychosis.
  • Most recently we have created an internal focus group comprised of PSI members who are postpartum psychosis survivors, family members and health care professionals with the purpose of finding new ways to reduce stigma both inside PSI and also in the media and society.

Going forward Postpartum Support International will be taking more action to support families and improve recognition and services for postpartum psychosis:

  • We are expanding content on our web site to provide mothers and their families more information that they can use in their treatment, including handouts which can be provided to their health care provider. 
  • We are creating curriculum and webinars for attorneys and health care professionals working with the criminal justice system so they can be on board in the quest that mothers and families aren't abandoned even if the illness overcomes them. We are grateful for the help of PSI President’s Advisory Council Members including George Parnham, JD; Margaret Spinelli, MD; Diana Lynn Barnes, MFT, PsyD; Shoshana Bennett, PhD; and PSI Legal Resources Coordinator Teresa Twomey, JD for their commitment to help us develop this educational curriculum.
  • Additionally, we have two PSI Volunteer Coordinator positions to help us focus on support and advocacy for postpartum psychosis: Teresa Twomey, author of "Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness" (Praeger 2009) has been our Legal Resources Coordinator since 2010.  We recently added Michelle R. Davidson, PhD, CNM, CFN, RN, as our Postpartum Psychosis Coordinator. Teresa and Michele, both authors and survivors of postpartum psychosis, are an integral part of PSI support services for families. For many years, Teresa has taken calls from families and PSI volunteers and has maintained a resource network of attorneys who can provide legal assistance. Michelle is available for specialized support to PSI Volunteers and families who need information or resources for postpartum psychosis. 

Postpartum psychosis is an illness, not a headline, and its first victims are the mothers that it affects so ruthlessly. It is those headlines that add to the stigma and increase the barrier between the victims and the help that they so desperately need. We look forward to continued collaboration with with other organizations like Action on Postpartum Psychosis in the UK, who provide inspiration to us as an superb integrated research and peer support organization. Postpartum Support International reaches out its hands to support the women and families who are struck by this illness and will fight relentlessly to be sure that each and everyone gets the support that they need.

Please write to us at if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions.

Want to help? Please join us as we help mothers, fathers, their children and families prevent crisis, survive and overcome the repercussions of perinatal mental health disorders. Donate now at .

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