Welcome to the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force’s website!
A new and improved website will be launched in early 2012. In the meantime, please feel free to explore this site to learn more about our work, learn how you can get involved or make a donation. Happy Holidays!
About the Los Angeles Perinatal Mental Health Task Force
Formed in February 2007, the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, a Project of Community Partners, its a 501 (c)(3) fiscal sponsor, is a volunteer network of over 30 individuals representing more than 15 public, private and community agencies whose mission is to remove barriers to prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force
The Task Force is a non profit organization which is led by nearly all volunteers. The organization operates as a 501 (c) (3) under the fiscal partnership of Community Partners. Approximately 15% of all women will experience mood disorders related to pregnancy or childbirth regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or socio-economic status. In 2005, 150,377 live births occurred in Los Angeles County facilities. Over 22,000 women in Los Angeles County experience clinical perinatal mood disorders each year. Left untreated, maternal depression and related mood disorders experienced by pregnant and new mothers can affect the development of the neonate, new baby and developing child. Furthermore these effects can have long-term consequences, including success in school and ultimate developmental outcomes. Research is mounting that indicates in no uncertain terms that when the mental health of a mother is at risk, the effects can be devastating for not only mother and child but the entire family and society as a whole. In addition, untreated perinatal mood disorders can disrupt healthy attachment between mother and baby, the foundation of healthy development. By tending to the mental health of mothers, the well being of babies and children is best protected and the chances of a child thriving are maximized.
Since February 2007, the Public Defender’s Office has played a leadership role in forming and chairing the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force (the “Task Force”) which seeks to establish collaborative, community-driven approaches to improving policies and practices that address maternal mental health and reduce the prevalence and severity of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County. The Director of the Task Force, Dr. Caron Post, is a clinical psychologist with clinical expertise in treating perinatal mood disorders and has provided extensive training in the area.
The Task Force is a volunteer network of over 30 individuals representing more than 15 public, private and community agencies involved in outreach, screening, and treatment services for prenatal and postpartum depression and other mood disorders, along with community leaders, research partners, and advocates for mothers, infants, and families.
The Task Force is chaired by a Public Defender representative and co-chaired by a representative from the Department of Public Health, and it is a Project of Community Partners, its 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
Task Force Members include representatives from:
· Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles
· Center for Postpartum Health, Woodland Hills
· Department of Mental Health, Birth to Five Program
· Harbor UCLA
· Department of Public Health, Maternal Child Adolescent Health Programs
· Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center
· First 5 LA
· Jewish Family Service Center
· Junior Leagues of California – State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC)
· LA Best Babies Network
· Magnolia Place Community Initiative
· Maternal Wellness Center at LAC/USC
· LAUSD School Mental Health Services
· Perinatal Advisory Council/Leadership, Advocacy and Consultation
· Postpartum Support International (PSI)
· PHFE-WIC Program
· Project ABC/Children’s Hospital/USC Keck School of Medicine
· Public Defender’s Office
· QueensCare Health & Faith Partnership
· South Bay Center for Counseling
· UCLA: Health Services Research Center – Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
· UCLA School of Public Affairs
· Zero to Three
Since its inception, the Task Force has influenced screening practices in health systems and public health programs, contributed to increased trainings and offerings on perinatal mood disorders for health care providers, helped shape the planning process for the Mental Health Services Act’s Prevention and Early Intervention initiative (MHSA/PEI), and has jointly planned, with Los Angeles Best Babies Network, a 5-year policy initiative to address perinatal mood disorders with funding awarded by First 5 LA. Furthermore the Task Force along with UCLA Early Detection, Screening and Intervention and Magnolia Place Network Initiative is spearheading the Maternal Depression Systems Improvement Project, a place- based, approach to effecting positive outcomes for young children by directly addressing the problem of perinatal depression in the catchment area. With lessons learned, the Task Force intends to take this project to scale countywide.
The Task Force is striving to identify gaps and unmet needs, to mobilize and align resources, to implement systematic and coordinated approaches and to disseminate knowledge and findings that are aimed at:
· Raising awareness and removing stigma associated with perinatal mood disorders
· Providing access to screening, effective treatment, and coordinated care for perinatal mood disorders
· Training health professionals and improving clinical practice
· Supporting affected individuals and their families
· Improving the coordination and functioning of systems of care
· Addressing the unique needs of underserved and vulnerable populations with a particular focus on Medi-Cal recipients and low income women as well as high risk populations including mothers affected by criminal court involvement, substance abuse, domestic violence, and cultural dislocation
- The Task Force recognizes that perinatal mood disorders occur with greater frequency in the population of women and girls who are substance abusers and domestic violence survivors. This population is often involved in the criminal justice system and less likely to access prenatal as well as postpartum services in general.
· Establishing responsive and effective policies to address and integrate services that address perinatal mood disorders.
The mission of the Task Force is to remove barriers to prevention, screening, and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County. This mission is accomplished through community partnerships and collaborations that
• train and support health professionals
• inform and educate consumers, policy-makers, and opinion leaders
• change the way that care for prenatal and postpartum depression is organized, paid for, and delivered
• advocate for public policies that increase screening and family-strengthening evidence-based, culturally competent services
Task Force Accomplishments for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2010:
· Collaborated with resolution sponsor Junior Leagues State Public Affairs Council and Assembly Member Pedro Nava to ensure passage of a statewide resolution (ACR 105) that now declares May of every year Perinatal Depression Awareness Month throughout the State of California.
· On March 16, 2010, the Board of Supervisors voted to unanimously support ACR 105, becoming the first county in the state to support the resolution. The Board of Supervisors concurrently proclaimed May Perinatal Depression Awareness Month throughout Los Angeles County. In addition, the Board explicitly agreed to “continue to work with the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Taskforce to facilitate increased awareness and education about Perinatal Depression and related mood disorders throughout the County, to explore and encourage the use of prenatal screening tools, and to improve the availability and access to effective treatment and support services for the promotion of maternal and infant mental health in Los Angeles County.”
· The Task Force designed two sided English/Spanish “Speak Up When You’re Down” awareness posters that were printed by First 5 LA and displayed in LA County’s birthing hospitals and community clinics and child development centers. The Task Force also designed an accompanying English/Spanish brochures entitled “Six Things Every Mom and Mom-to-Be Should Know About Perinatal Depression.” Five thousand copies were printed by member LABBN and distributed throughout Los Angeles County.
· At the invitation of Assembly Member Nava, the Public Defender representative of the Task Force spoke at a May 3, 2010 Sacramento press conference. Assembly Member acknowledged the contributions of the Task Force and displayed the Task Force designed “Speak Up When You’re Down” posters in both English and Spanish. He also acknowledged the fact that Los Angeles County was the first county to support the resolution.
· Starting in January 2010, the Task Force has led along with Magnolia Place Community Initiative and UCLA’s Early Detection Screening and Intervention, The Maternal Depression Systems Improvement Project whose goal it is to improve outcomes for children in the catchment area by working to align systems that directly address maternal mental health. As part of this ambitious project, the Task Force will also train a broad array of providers with perinatal mood disorder training and increase culturally competent and informed supportive services in the Magnolia Place catchment area, including the placement and training of USC social work interns who will be trained in perinatal mental health
· In November 2009, the Task Force in conjunction with member LA Best Babies Network co-hosted a policy roundtable in order to build sustainable policies to improve maternal mental health screening practices and treatment services in Los Angeles County. The roundtable and addressed the following areas, and a summary of policy recommendations was produced in January 2010:
- Access, Financing and Standards of Care
- Education and Training of Health Care Providers
- Mental Health Workforce and
- Public Awareness/Education and Social Support
· Task Force members have participated in promoting trainings related to prenatal and postpartum depression, including recent trainings held by the LA Best Babies Network and Children’s Hospital-LA Project ABC Program training on maternal depression. In August 2009 was recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as a regional resource for excellence in education, prevention, early identification, and intervention.
· In the spring of 2010, Task Force members participated in a Department wide training for the Public Defender’s Office addressing the Role of Maternal Mental Health and Secure Infant/Child Attachment in All Criminal and Delinquency Cases;
· Task Force members have given presentations at regional meetings –
including an April 2010 Perinatal Mental Health Summit in Fresno, representing 10 counties. The Task Force co-hosted and presented at the March 2010 Bright Beginnings Conference in Los Angeles along with partners including UC Berkeley’s MCAH program, and the State Department of Mental Health.
· In the Spring of 2010, Task Force members presented to local area groups including the Los Angeles County Child Abuse Coordinating Councils and the Los Angeles County Child Death Review Committee.
(Source: California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics, 2008)