There are clinics for this, and clinics for that, so it is pretty damn surprising that the very first free-standing postpartum depression clinic in the country is finally opening this week. Why wasn’t there one before? With so many women falling victim to issues after having their babies, it’s a shock that not only has there not been a clinic specializing in postpartum depression before, but that they aren’t all over. Hopefully, this is something that is going to change.
Starting this week, the University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill will be home to the nation’s first “free-standing perinatal psychiatry unit.” Will this be the first of many? Chris Raines, a therapist at UNC’s new department came up with the idea after meeting Maria Bruno. After suffering from severe postpartum depression Bruno was put into a psychiatric ward with “schizophrenics, drug addicts and dementia patients,” she wasn’t allowed to see her baby (since she was on suicide watch), and had group sessions with people who were in for alcoholism and drug abuse – which is so not the same thing. The whole thing was a horrible experience for Bruno. “I can’t talk about it without crying most of the time,” Bruno said. “It’s in my gut. It will never escape me, that experience.”
This new clinic will be far more mom friendly with family therapy sessions, special areas for breastfeeding and pumping, as well as special baby visiting hours for women who are hospitalized. And it won’t be in some scary psyche ward, it is “not in the middle of the heart clinic,” a director said, “not in the middle of a different ward, but in a specialty ward that takes care of women during pregnancy and postpartum.”
The team hopes that the new clinic will be an inspiration and will help get other clinic set up around the county. The new clinic is already getting nationwide interest with doctors calling to get details about the program.
Are you surprised that there hasn’t been postpartum depression clinics before?