The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. According to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2011 by Palladino et al, the highest category of death resulting from pregnancy complications and postpartum challenges is suicide. Further, as of late, the media has highlighted that there have been numerous challenges in the US around tracking data and actually categorizing suicide correctly under the header of maternal mortality, further suggesting that the recorded number of deaths may actually be even scarier than the data suggests. In New York State alone, the death rates among women during and shortly after pregnancy are some of the highest in the country.
It is clear that Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and OCD is a serious threat to new mothers. This threat has led too many women to take their own lives. Sadly, it is estimated that 1 in 7 women will suffer from a perinatal mood disorder. Many women who suffer have and will continue to do so in isolation and without help. The NIH has also conducted extensive research that concludes "Social Support is a major buffer of Postpartum Depression."
The Westchester Postpartum Group was started in 2014 as a mom’s peer support meeting to help bring mothers living with a perinatal mood disorder out of isolation. Over time the group has grown to become a thriving network of mothers and families who are working to overcome their own battles with Postpartum Depression/OCD/Anxiety, while providing regular support, friendship, and referrals to peers and family members to address the complexities of living with a perinatal mood disorder.
Today, run by our founder, Adriana Pentz, the Westchester PPD Group is the only peer support program in the county. Collectively, we serve over 40 moms and their families through monthly support group meetings, family social events and outings, targeted educational and social gatherings. A larger network of close to 200 women have access to professional referrals including psychiatrists, psychologists, doulas, and other specialists who provide tailored therapy and medical treatment to women living with a postpartum mood disorders. The Westchester PPD Group also runs a private Facebook group and public Facebook page where members can exchange information, gain access to relevant research, and seek additional support with specific challenges.