The Wide World of Perinatal Mental Health...and our place in it. We are proud of the diversity in PSI, and grateful for PSI members and volunteers, continuously striving to learn more, help more, and share more of their time, energy, and experience. We learn every day about the diverse range of perinatal mental health symptoms experienced by pregnant and postpartum parents, and the range of available and effective support and treatment options. In this month's News, we're highlighting both the range of symptoms and the puzzle of categorizing them. One of our goals is to bridge those worlds, integrating the lived experience with clinical theory, research, and practice.

"My Insane Reality"  by by Alison Parson is a beautifully written first person account of a journey through postpartum psychosis. We treasure the voices and input of survivors; all of us working together to make meaning of our experiences and prevent unnecessary suffering for other families.

Our research based article this month, "Postpartum Depression and Perinatal Mood Disorders in the DSM: History and PSI Advocacy" by PSI Board Member Lisa Segre, PhD and Executive Director Wendy Davis, PhD, describes the history of the DSM and PSI's involvement in revision efforts in DSM 5.

People ask us..Who are you for, professionals or families?  Well, our answer is YES, yes we are here for both, and all, and that is our strength.  From PSI's founding in 1987,  Jane Honikman's vision was that PSI would support the helpers and the families, our volunteers and the professionals who seek information and education. In truth, many of us would have to say "all of the above" -- we have survived a personal or family experience and we are also care providers. PSI builds on these strengths,  learns from our diversity, and grows from feedback and suggestion, striving to improve access, lessen gaps, and provide compassionate and informed care to all families. Dear members, thank you for being part of this worldwide and diverse PSI village. It would not be the same without you. 

Leslie Lowell Stoutenburg, RNC, MS, PSI President
Leslie Lowell Stoutenburg, RNC, MS

Wendy N. Davis, PhD, PSI Executive Director

Wendy N. Davis, PhD

Upcoming PSI NEWS...watch for it!

  • Online Training Course: 2020MomProject & PSI
  • PSI PenPal Network for Incarcerated Women and the challenge of legal defense related to perinatal mental illness
  • The Blue Dot Project, PHA of San Diego
  • Marcé  Society International new postion paper “Psychosocial Assessment and Depression Screening in Perinatal Women.” 
  • PSI International Members and Networks

My Insane Reality
by Alison Parson

I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to register all that happened the days leading up to right now. I still don’t know what’s wrong with me. I only know that I’m in a psychiatric center and obviously that’s an indication of some mental illness, but what is it?

I spent nine hours in the ER yesterday. I was smothered in paranoia and confusion. Voices were speaking to me: telling me to kill myself; telling me I was evil; telling me not to trust anyone. None of that made sense yesterday. And still, none of it makes sense today. As much as I wish it was a well-crafted movie I was watching, it’s my insane reality. It’s actually happening to me.

Now I’m in a room, inside a building for people with mental problems. I have no idea how long I’ll be here. I have no idea if I’ll ever leave. I know I still feel the effects of fearing my toddler, thinking she was a demon. Thinking my husband was going to murder me. Thinking my newborn had the face of a grown man. Thinking my face was disfigured, refusing to look in any mirror I passed.

I venture out of the room. A social worker greets me by name with a calming smile. She instructs me to go to the nurse’s station and then breakfast. I get two pills and a small cup of water then I eat some Cheerios. 

I vaguely remember last night as my husband and I rode in the ambulance to this building... Read Alison's full story HERE


Postpartum Depression and Perinatal Mood Disorders in the DSM: History and PSI Advocacy
by Lisa Segre, PhD and Wendy Davis, PhD

Making news headlines, in May 2013 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This revision was chaired by David J. Kupfer, M.D (Chair) and Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H. (Vice-Chair), and a task force comprised of 13 work-groups: each comprised of a chair and work group members who were key experts in psychiatric treatment, research and epidemiology. Click HERE to visit the DSM-5 website for more information on the committee.

The DSM, which has been called “the bible of diagnostic criteria” for mental health professionals and researchers, is used to determine whether a cluster of symptoms is recognized as a disorder, according to the APA. This recognition can have substantial practical consequences, for example whether or not treatment is reimbursed by insurance or in determining outcomes in court cases. As an organization devoted to the emotional well-being and mental health of pregnant and postpartum women, Postpartum Support International is keenly interested in psychiatric diagnostic developments during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The purpose of this article is to describe recent changes in the DSM-5 that pertain to pregnant and postpartum women. However, for individuals who may not be familiar with prior versions of DSM, it may be challenging to understand the significance of recent changes. The following very brief history provides this background as a framework.

Did you ever wonder why this manual is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual?  While the word “diagnostic” is easily understood, the reference to “statistical” is not intuitive. Read more...Find the Full Article HERE, including PSI's involvement and input in the DSM revisions.

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 news@postpartum.net for more information or to submit your news items.

Our  26th Annual PSI Conference 
with NAMI Minnesota 
The conference in Minneapolis was a resounding success -- we'll share stories and photos in upcoming newsletters. Please send photos or reviews to news@postpartum.net
You can order all of the session recordings RIGHT HERE!

Save the Date

PSI 27th Annual Conference
UNC Chapel Hill
June 18-21, 2014
with University of North Carolina Center for Women's Mood Disorders
Chapel Hill NC 

PSI Trainings & Events
PSI Course
PSI Certificate of Completion Course
"Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care"
September in France!
There are still spaces left for the Sept 23-24 PSI Certificate Training in France! Come to all or pick among three workshops: Scott Stuart, MD; Kathy Wisner, MD; and the PSI Training with Birdie Meyer, RN, MA, Wendy Davis, PhD, and Oguz Omay, MD. Sign up Now
Tain L'Hermitage France
Learn more about PSI Trainings and upcoming events.

Upcoming 2013:

In Appreciation
We are so grateful for your support. Only through the generosity of your donations are we able to sustain and improve PSI programs and services in 2013. It's easy to donate...visit our Network for Good link or through PayPal. You can choose to make a single donation, or become a sustaining member by selecting a recurring gift. Your tax-deductible contribution will help us provide communities worldwide with reliable, compassionate, and essential support, resources, and informed professional care. From our Volunteer Scholarship Fund Donors to those who have donated in memory of a loved one, PSI is grateful and moved by your generosity.
PSI Coordinators: Send Us Your News!
PSI would not exist without the dedication and caring of its support coordinators. We thank you for the volunteer work you do in your communities to provide social support, information, reassurance, and resources to mothers and their families. We invite you to send us your news of how you are reaching out to families in your area. Contact us at news@postpartum.net. 


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