S.P.A.R.K.S, the Brooklyn based PPD program which has helped so many mothers overcome the challenges of PPD identification, treatment and recovery, will address lawmakers in Washington DC on Thursday, March 31, 2011!
Ms. Esther Kenigsberg, S.P.A.R.K.S. founder and advocate, understands the importance of bringing the message to the decision makers who will consider maternal mental health funding. She has hired the experienced government PR firm The Friedlander Group from NYC to document and ensure visibility and coverage of their much anticipated event.
As I have written in the past, S.P.A.R.K.S. is a tremendous example of a community based public private partnership which relies on local grants and community donations to keep its doors open. They are presently seeking funding for acquisition of an entire building which will house comprehensive recovery options for new mothers and families under one roof. Services offered will include mental health consultations, support groups, meal preparation, child care, massage, nutritional consults and community education about PMAD’s for women and their families.
S.P.A.R.K.’S. goal is to stop the endless journey which families currently face when attempting to coordinate recovery services from multiple agencies and healthcare providers. They intend to create a one stop shopping service blueprint for replication in agencies, communities, or faith based services across the country.
In this economic climate, keeping the drumroll going for funding of PPD programs and services is critical to maintain the ground we have gained over the last five years. This well timed introduction of a program which offers every initiative mentioned in the historic PPD legislation now included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, championed by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Bobby L. Rush and Governor and Mrs. Mary Jo Codey, shows lawmakers it can be done. And it must be done.
While many brave women such as Carol Blocker, Sylvia Lasalandra and Katherine Stone have journeyed to Washington to sway legislators and public opinion toward the need to address maternal mental health, just how that response should look has been fiercely debated! Should it include concrete services like home visits, meal preparation and child care?
Should it include mental health consultation with or without medication interventions? Social support? Should we start with Public Service Announcements and training of the professionals who will be assigned to care for the mental health needs of new mothers? All of these services may be critical to the recovery needs of mothers suffering from PMAD’s and should be easily within reach.
What are the most effective services to serve women who are challenged by a PMAD?
We now know that recovery plans must be as unique as the mother herself and should include – without shame or question – whatever that mother needs to return to health! Research has supported the consideration of many treatment and outreach modalities; the trick is education, access and availability to those who need them! And most importantly, evaluation of efficacy so we can better understand what works for whom!
S.P.A.R.K.S., with its comprehensive depth and breadth of services and attention to the specific needs of its community, offers a roadmap for the development and implementation of responsive PPD programs.
In addition to educating the Congressmen who will be present, S.P.A.R.K.S. is honoring a few individuals who have helped them grow, worked with their board and offered guidance for the inclusion of specific services. I am humbled to be among them and hope to see many of you there. To attend, view the invitation or RSVP, click here.