PSI Hosts Annual Conference this Week

For those of you who are eager to learn more about emerging research, legislative initiatives like The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, and other state initiatives, social support, complementary, and cognitive based treatments for PPD, this is the week to head to LA for PSI’s annual conference in sponsorship with Los Angeles County’s Perinatal Mental Health Task Force!

This year’s conference chairs – Kimberly Wong, Esq. and Merrill Sparango, MD – both PSI board members, have outdone themselves in assembling the best available experts/information to keep you current on what is happening out there to support women recovering from PPD. New this year will be an opportunity for PPD survivors to meet and talk to one another about their experiences. Those of you who live out west who haven’t already registered may want to take advantage of the one day tickets now available ( see full conference program schedule )

The annual banquet on Thursday evening has an incredible program. My hero, attorney George Parnham will be honoring us with his thoughts on the law’s view of these illnesses and his role in the evolving legal perspective. The U.S. needs to catch up with other civilized countries in the world who offer a more measured response when the ravages of PPD psychosis threaten the lives of helpless women and infants. George’s work on the Andrea Yates case has fueled a decades long passion for helping mothers; we are so fortunate to have this powerfully brilliant advocate on our team.

Wade Bowen will be there to perform his beautiful, original song “Turn on the Lights” which never fails to evoke deeply inspirational response. I can’t wait to meet him. Last fall, he hosted a golf outing in Texas for the benefit of PSI and he and his wife continue to advocate for this issue.

PSI’s president, Birdie Meyer and Pec Indman, will be offering the pre-conference PPD training that has earned top reviews across the country! If you want to declare/develop a specialty in PPD clinical work, or just want to better understand the current protocols, this is THE training to take. If you can’t make it to LA, you may still want to bring Birdie and Pec to your location and host one of these trainings for your staff and area professionals.

Along with the many cutting edge workshops being offered by nationally known experts and authors, such as Cheryl Beck and Ruta Nonacs, MD, I’ll be presenting my work with Dialectical Behavior Therapy in treating perinatal mood disorders and in a subsequent session with Diana Lynn Barnes, we’ll be discussing therapeutic modalities for remediating attachment difficulties. There will be panels on the importance of social support with Sonia Murdock, complementary treatment and other issues of importance to new mothers and those who care for them.

And we haven’t forgotton about fathers and family members concerned with how to best help their wives, sisters, daughters, partners and friends struggling with perinatal mood disorders. Nationally known Dr. Will Courtenay will moderate a panel on this critical issue.

The other highlight of this conference is the annual chance to meet with PSI’s fantastic group of national coordinators– our unsung heroes! From across the country, these dedicated volunteers answer the phone calls from worried moms and their family members, quickly connecting them with the local resources they need to return to health. Many of these amazing women are PPD survivors who want to be sure their stories are not repeated by their sisters across America. PSI owes a huge debt of gratitude to these selfless volunteers. They will be feted at a dinner in their honor Wednesday evening chaired by the equally dedicated and seemingly tireless Wendy Davis, PSI’s Coordinator Chair.

Meet Jane Honikman, PSI’s visionary founder, board members Yvonne Moore who coordinates PSI’s weekly Chat with the Expert sessions which have helped so many, Katherine Stone, who writes our nation’s most widely read blog on postpartum depression, Linda Klempner, membership chair who is managing the fantastic silent auction, Brian Shanahan, developer of the fantastic MedEdPPD website who is helping PSI update ours, and Mary Lou Kravitz, our treasurer who keeps it all moving forward!

If you can, please join us, but if you can’t, I hear that DVD’s of the conference presentation may be available for sale after the conference (which will include PowerPoint presentations). When I return, I’ll give you an update! Hope to see you there!

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