Tuesday, April 12, 2022

APA Awarded Grant to Identify Training Gaps in Perinatal Mental Health Care

APA has launched a new initiative with the goal of better understanding the experiences and attitudes of psychiatrists and mental health professionals around treating pregnant women with mental and substance use disorders.

The Mental Health Needs Assessment in the Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders will identify training gaps among clinicians related to perinatal mental health care; update and expand existing recommendations for the mental health care of pregnant women; develop a perinatal psychiatric care toolkit for clinicians; and formulate educational and training recommendations for mental health clinicians to better serve this population.

The initiative is led by Diana E. Clarke, Ph.D., APA’s managing director of research and senior epidemiologist/research statistician. It is supported by a $447,209 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation.

“This is an important initiative, and I am thrilled that representatives from many mental health professional organizations and diverse backgrounds are participating on the panel to ensure a robustly informed process,” Clarke said in a news release. Other organizations involved include the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

According to a study published in Psychiatric Services, 51% of pregnant women in the United States who experienced a major depressive episode between 2011 and 2016 did not receive any mental health treatment, and 40% reported perceiving an unmet need for mental health treatment, regardless of whether they had received any mental health treatment. The authors of the Psychiatric Services article noted these gaps in treatment exist despite the availability of safe treatment options and guidelines that call for mental health professionals to monitor the mental health of pregnant women.

As part of the new initiative, APA will perform a needs assessment by convening focus groups of women with mental and substance use disorders before, during, or up to two years following their pregnancies. APA will also survey, hold focus groups, and conduct a panel discussion with mental health professionals who treat pregnant women.

A 20-member advisory panel of psychiatrists and mental health professionals who have expertise in maternal mental health will also inform the project. These experts will provide advice on survey questions, focus group materials, and literature reviews.

“Maternal health, and particularly maternal mental health, is an issue that has taken a back seat for far too long in the United States,” APA President Vivian Pender, M.D., said in the release. “This effort will help us better understand where our opportunities are to ensure pregnant mothers have access to the psychiatric care they need, which will lead to improved mental health outcomes for moms and their babies.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Pandemic Has Compromised Mental Health of New Moms.”

(Image: iStock/SDI Productions)

Last Chance to Register for Annual Meeting at Advance Registration Rates!

Soledad O’Brien to Present William C. Menninger Memorial Lecture

To save on registration fees for APA’s 2022 Annual Meeting, register before 11:59 p.m. tonight. The meeting is being held in New Orleans from May 21 to 25. Just added to the program is Soledad O’Brien, host of the Sunday morning syndicated political show “Matter of Fact With Soledad O’Brien” and a correspondent on HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.” A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series “Black in America” and “Latino in America.”



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