Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week Underlines Pregnancy-Associated Disorders

May 11, 2016

Credit Lauren DePaola's Perinatal Mental Health presentation

This week is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week. Officials want to make people more aware of one of the top health complications surrounding pregnancy.

Lauren DePaola is a licensed clinical social worker in Gainesville and the Founder and CEO of Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling.

“I am a professional as well as a wife and a mother, who experienced some symptoms along the perinatal, mood, and anxiety disorder spectrum, and so, I always like to come from that perspective,” she said, during a recent presentation to the Florida Youth and Children's Cabinet.

And, she says perinatal mental health is Florida’s largest reproductive health issue. It can include postpartum depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“So, when we talk about perinatal, we talk about both mom and fetus and baby and anytime, during pregnancy, leading up to pregnancy, and anytime leading up to that post-partum, that full year,” she added.

DePaola says it’s very important for people, especially women, to know these conditions are treatable and recognize the risk factors. To get that accomplished, she hopes a task force can be created to develop recommendations and an official Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Month can be declared in Florida.

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