More services urged to improve perinatal mental health care

Oakham Jennifer Ford knew something was wrong after the birth of her second child, McKinley.

It was a difficult delivery and after a four-day stay in St Vincent’s Hospital following an emergency caesarean section, Ford returned to family life at his home in Oakham.

But within a few days his mood changed: “Suddenly that house didn’t feel like my home.”

Ford was having difficulty forming a relationship with McKinley, had frequent crying fits, and was depressed to the point of contemplating suicide: I felt like (my family) deserved better. Was entitled. That they would have been better off had I not been there.

She shared those feelings with her husband, Andrew, and he immediately sprang into action. The Fords’ obstetrician was called and the final diagnosis was postpartum depression.

Ford connected the mothers to the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program, which provided the mental health services they needed. Her medications were adjusted, she received immediate appointments with a psychiatrist and a social worker managed her care.

“After a few months, I noticed a change,” said Ford, who finally realized the joy of having her second child.

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