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Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week Underlines Pregnancy-Associated Disorders

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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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.