Seleni Trains 80 Providers to Screen for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Brooklyn borough president hosts training to improve maternal mental health

There was terrific turnout for the Seleni Institute's first free provider training session at Brooklyn Borough Hall on April 16, 2015. More than 80 providers – including ob/gyns, midwives, pediatricians, mental health counselors, doulas, yoga instructors, and even members of the Kings County district attorney's office – came to hear Seleni psychotherapist Sarah Best explain the importance of perinatal mental health screening and referral. The training kicked off Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams's Family-Friendly Brooklyn Initiative, which prioritizes effective mental health screening for pregnant women and mothers.

Twenty percent of women will experience a perinatal mood disorder. Without treatment, these women and their families are at serious risk. But with appropriate treatment, families can become healthy and strong. Through this training and more like them, our goal at Seleni is to demystify perinatal mood disorders, make screening and treatment referrals accessible and easy, and give providers the skills and tools to help families get to a stronger place.

Sarah Best differentiated between the baby blues and perinatal mood and adjustment disorders (PMADs), then gave simple, understandable explanations of different PMADs, including major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She demonstrated empathic ways providers can start the conversation about mental health with patients, then discussed several easy screening tools to determine whether a woman warrants further evaluation by a mental health professional. She also gave participants resources and tips for creating a robust provider network to handle referrals.

Based on the feedback we received from participants, it was clear that providers are eager for (and thrilled to receive) information on screening and referrals that is easy to understand and implement. Many participants wanted the training to last longer than the scheduled 90 minutes, and Seleni received multiple requests for follow-up trainings.

Seleni will offer quarterly trainings at Borough Hall, and we are very happy to work with organizations or associations to create specific trainings.

You can access all training materials, including a video, on our provider resource page.