This morning at George Washington University in Washington DC, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will contribute opening remarks to the official introduction of Service Nation volunteer partnerships. Service Nation is an organization devoted to increasing volunteer efforts among civilians, non profits and other entities in communities across the United States. Here’s the link to the media alert about today’s event.
Amidst other ceremonies designed to honor our nations hero veterans, the launch of today’s program is meant to stimulate additional participation from individuals and organizations from all sectors to volunteer within their communities. Among the organizations included in today’s presentation are two devoting specific attention to postpartum mood disorders; Postpartum Support International, the worlds largest organization devoted to the eradication of perinatal mood disorders, and Give an Hour, a non profit established by Dr. Barbara Van Dalen to encourage mental health practitioners to donate a weekly hour of professional service to military families. Both are volunteer organizations.
While the invitation to take the stage behind the First and Second Lady of our country today as PSI’s representative is a memorable honor, the Obama Administration’s emphasis on mental health as part of overall health care brings a holistic perspective to this critical initiative. PSI’s inclusion brings more consistent visibility to our issue along with a level of exposure and awareness that will help spread our mantra, “You are not alone, you are not to blame and with help, you will be well”.
According to the World Health Organization, depression could be the number two health issue by 2020. If one understands the impact of depression and effects of poverty on families around the world, along with other psychosocial challenges of the new millennium, it is obvious that mental health issues need to be a focus of aggressive, preventive action. And those who have suffered from or who treat women struggling with postpartum depression understand the potential negative impact on mothers, infants and families if this crisis is not averted.
Recent studies indicate that military mothers may experience a disproportionate increase in postpartum depression. Some of these risks could include the stress of deployment of either the partner or birth mother during the baby’s infancy; transient lifestyle and marital issues; inconsistent healthcare/follow up; lack of awareness of pregnancy related mood disorders, mental health issues associated with active duty and the potential of isolation from friends and family.
In the coming months more formal programs/partnerships will be announced adressing the needs of these vulnerable populations, but for now, American women, infants and families should be greatly encouraged that maternal child wellness is prominently featured in Service Nation’s Administration backed initiative.
For more information about Service Nation, the other partners who participated in today’s event, and how you can become involved, visit the Service Nation website.
If you are a mental health professional willing to donate some of your time to help a military family, including treatment for postpartum depression, please visit Give an Hour’s website and sign up! There’s no better way to acknowledge and support our military families on Veterans Day.
Meanwhile the petition in support of the The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act continues to grow. If you have not yet added your name to this critical health care initiative, please do so today!
Thank you to every Veteran we honor today, who risked his/her life to maintain the freedoms and liberty so cherished and unique to America.