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Mothers Urged to “Speak Up When You’re Downâ€

The Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force encourages mothers to “Speak Up When You’re Down†throughout the month of May, in recognition of Maternal Depression Awareness Month.

Of the approximately 150,000 live births that occur in Los Angeles County annually, over 22,000 women experience clinical perinatal depression. Perinatal or maternal depression encompasses a range of mood disorders that can affect a woman during pregnancy and around the time of birth. Left untreated, this illness can lead to long-term depression in the mother, a lack of emotional availability for the baby and detrimental outcomes in the development of the fetus, newborn and developing child. However, these conditions are often preventable and highly treatable — speak out and use the power of the more 20,00 sufferers to heal.

“Perinatal depression and related mood disorders are often not diagnosed and/or treated due to lack of screening, inaccessibility of informed treatment, lack of reimbursement from health insurance companies and stigma,†says Caron Post, PhD, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force. “It is crucial for individuals, as well as health and human service providers, to encourage women who are suffering to get the help they need so that they and their babies can have healthy and happy beginnings.â€

Women who have experienced a form of maternal depression, as well as their family and friends, are invited to attend and participate in a number of events throughout the month of May 2012.

Events include:

May 11th 2:00pm-4:00pm in West Covina: Community Awareness Forum – Hosted by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force and Citrus Valley Health Partners, the forum will feature women who have experienced maternal depression and health care and community-based providers who support them. The event will take place at Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus, 1115 South Sunset Avenue, Oakwood Room, in West Covina.

May 12th Done in a Day – The Junior League of Los Angeles will distribute, “Six Things New Moms & Moms-to-be Should Know About Perinatal Depression” brochures and Speak Up When You’re Down posters to all birthing hospitals in Los Angeles County.

May 20th Santa Monica Classic – Join the Speak Up When You’re Down team as it runs 5K and 10K distances in the Santa Monica Classic road race. Start time is 7:30am at Pico Boulevard & Barnard Way in Santa Monica. Runners and spectators are invited to a breakfast reception directly after the race at the Shore Hotel, 1515 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force is a volunteer network whose mission is to remove the barriers to prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County.

For more information on the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force and Maternal Depression Awareness Month: www.maternalmentalhealthla.org

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