Seleni Institute 2015 Year in Review

From individual care to the national stage, it's been a busy, rewarding year

December 9, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, we are so grateful for the year we have had at Seleni. It has been 12 months of taking our core mission to the next level – supporting national leaders and policies who prioritize the well-being of women and families, providing expert training on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to health care and mental health providers, and extending our parenting support services to teen moms.

Professional Training
In April we joined Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams as he launched the Family Friendly Brooklyn initiative and began offering free training on how to screen for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and refer women to effective treatment if necessary. The training was offered to all providers who work with pregnant women and new mothers, including midwives, doulas, obstetricians, pediatricians, and nurse practitioners. Increased demand means future free trainings are now filling through 2016.

Following the success of our provider trainings, this fall we launched one of the country's only comprehensive clinical trainings on treating PMADs and mental health issues related to perinatal loss. These trainings offer social workers, psychologists, psychoanalysts, and clinical directors of community-based health mental health programs a complete, evidence-based guide to diagnosing and treating these common emotional health issues that are often overlooked. Trainings will be offered bimonthly, with the next one scheduled for January 8-9, 2016.

Seleni Institute Teen Initiative
This year also marked the beginning of the Seleni Institute Teen Initiative (SITI), a program that brings our expert therapeutic services to a group of mothers whose mental health is often completely neglected. Pregnant adolescents and young parents ages 14 to 22 receive fully subsidized individual psychotherapy to support their transition to parenthood. Seleni is working with a number of city agencies and private organizations, including Mount Sinai Hospital, CAMBA, and Inwood House, as part of our comprehensive effort to reach those eligible for services.

Our support for young families continued in November with the launch of our on-site Young Parent Series. Our breastfeeding consultant Ayelet Kaznelson and teen parent advocate Gloria Malone joined Seleni clinicians for sessions on self-care, newborn basics, and resources for young parents. The Young Parent Series will continue in 2016, serving pregnant adolescents and young parents in partnership with CAMBA.

Advocating for Women and Families
We also brought motherhood to the national stage in June at a Congressional Luncheon on Capitol Hill with more than 200 policy makers and news outlets. We recognized two exemplary mothers in positions of public leadership – Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Matthews Burwell and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress and chair of the House Middle East Subcommittee with the inaugural Winnifred Mason Huck Leadership Awards.

"With this luncheon, the Seleni Institute continues its commitment to excellence and its recognition of the strength of working mothers," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the event. "With the engagement of mothers in leadership throughout our democracy, we must continue to insist on greater respect for the needs of working mothers – in government, in business, and across our society."

And at the end of 2015, we are thrilled to be working with the city of New York on its mental health initiatives, including the commitment to "screen and treat all pregnant women and new mothers for maternal depression."

In the News
We are so honored to be a part of national and local initiatives that prioritize mental health and provide care to women and mothers, and we are grateful to be recognized for the work we do at Seleni. We were especially thankful for the opportunity to contribute to an important article in the Wall Street Journalabout the heartbreaking story of a Bronx mother who took the life of her 6-month-old baby and a CNN article about the critical need for mental health care services among the most vulnerable populations. Seleni experts were also featured on WebMD, in the New York Post and Time magazine, and other outlets. It is so encouraging to see accurate reporting on maternal mental health, and we look forward to greater awareness and media coverage in the coming year.

Thank you all for supporting Seleni as well as women and families everywhere. We wish you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

(L-R) Seleni founder and executive chairwoman Nitzia Logothetis with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

(L-R) Seleni founder and executive chairwoman Nitzia Logothetis with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.