Providing Expert Testimony on IL House Bill 1764 to the Judiciary-Criminal Committee at the State Legislature

•April 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I want to thank Representative Linda Chapa LaVia and Bill Ryan for their efforts, sponsorship and support of HB 1764. It is due to their dedication that women with postpartum depression and psychosis who commit crimes when mentally ill, have a better chance of having these “mitigating factors” considered in sentencing and in post-conviction petitions. This legislation once passed, would amend the Code of Corrections to consider postpartum mental illness in prosecuting these women. I am hopeful that the full House will vote affirmatively on this bill, leading to greater likelihood of women with postpartum mental illness getting treatment rather than just incarceration and punishment.

It was an amazing experience to be able to give expert testimony to the Judiciary-Criminal Committee of the IL State Legislature this week with Lita Simanis, LCSW, Coordinator of Perinatal Program for Amita Health.

It is critical that we all make contact with our IL representatives in the House to ask for their full support of this important piece of legislation, which is coming up for a vote in May. I will keep you informed once I find out the exact date of the House vote on HB1764.

Stay tuned for more information and please contact your IL State representatives.
Susan Susan Benjamin Feingold, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Author of: “Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum Disorders”
(New Horizon Press, 2013)

Find me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Web: drsusanbfeingold.com
Blog: post-postpartumdepressionblog.com Email: Susanbf@sbcglobal.net

What Have I been doing rather than blogging?

•January 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I have to admit it’s been a while since I have blogged. I have been busy over the past few months with several projects.

I recently redid my website (take a look) drsusanbfeingold.com and have received an award for my work on perinatal and women’s mental health issues from Argosy University, Chicago and the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.  I was honored to receive the award and to address all the graduates, faculty and parents at the November Commencement Ceremony. This included both undergraduates  and graduate students from Psychology, Business, Criminal Justice and Education. It was such a wonderful way to end 2016. Hopefully, I inspired the recent graduates to go out there and find a meaningful career as well as to help make this world a better place for all.

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My plans in 2017 are to continue my perinatal work as well as to  focus on helping to build healthier relationships  with couples. I am setting aside time to finish another book. Stay tuned; this one is on relationships, dating and soul mates.

The 11 Facts Moms-to-be Should Know About Postpartum Depression

•March 30, 2016 • 1 Comment

I’m pleased to report that I was interviewed for an article by Self Magazine Health Editor, Amy Marturana on Postpartum Depression.

The article focused on the facts (vs Myths) about postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, with the intent that moms-to-be should be aware of the signs and symptoms in order to be educated about this common complication of pregnancy and childbirth. To be educated is a way of being prepared and proactive. We find that early identification and treatment means an early recovery for the mom, as well as a better connection with their baby and their spouse.

Self.com published the article last week (see the link below).

http://www.self.com/wellness/2016/03/11-postpartum-depression-facts-all-moms-to-be-need-to-know/

iPhone App Helps to Explore the Link of Genetics to Postpartum Depression

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

There are times I dislike our use of technology, but today I had a change of heart, as I read the story in the NY Times of The University of North Carolina team that is using an iPhone app to recruit women who have had postpartum depression so as to explore the possibility of a genetic link.

Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Director of the perinatal psychiatry program at the University of North Carolina, along with other researchers in her team are trying to understand the genetic underpinnings of perinatal disorders by collecting DNA samples from a large group of women (100,000) who have had postpartum depression and compare these samples to the DNA from women who have not experienced the illness.

The free App, PPD ACT will be used to recruit and assess women who have experienced PMAD. Women with high scores will be asked to submit DNA through a saliva test. For more information, refer to the link below.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/health/postpartum-depression-genetics-iphone-app.html?emc=edit_tnt_20160321&nlid=47798743&tntemail0=y&referer=http://m.facebook.com&_r=0

Psychotherapy Found as Effective for Depression as Medication

•February 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Abstract: A nice meta-analysis of treatments for major depression by primary care clinicians. The authors point out multiple limitations of their studies, but for what it’s worth, once again cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) looks as good as antidepressants, and does not cause side effects. A problem with CBT is that it is expensive, time consuming, and not always available.

This meta-analysis again confirms the effectiveness of psychotherapy for depression. However, I don’t agree with their last sentence that therapy is expensive (health insurance companies often cover this treatment), time consuming (as short-term psychotherapy is quite effective) or difficult to find (most psychologists are well versed in CBT, as well as other strategies and techniques in treating depression).

Great News for Perinatal Disorders!!

•February 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I couldn’t resist posting this great news:))

BRINGING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION OUT OF THE SHADOWS
More than 1 in 10 new mothers experience postpartum depression, which can last for months or even years. It can increase anxiety, guilt and self-blame.
We also know that there are often implications for the estimated 400,000 infants born each year to mothers who experience postpartum depression – poor bonding between the mother and infant can have negative effects on the child’s development and behavior.
But there is good news – this is a treatable condition and we’re working to pass a bill to get more mothers the care that they need.
The bipartisan Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act of 2015, of which I am a cosponsor and strong supporter, would provide federal grants to assist states in their efforts to identify and treat maternal depression.
We want these mothers to know that they are not alone and that there is absolutely hope.
To learn more about my work on your behalf, please visit my website.
For more photos and videos, please join me on social media:

It is an honor to represent you in Congress.
Sincerely,

Bob Dold
United States Congressman
P.S. I’m committed to working on issues to keep women, children and families healthy.

Early Recognition Of Symptoms During Pregnancy Equals Better Outcomes

•September 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

In my practice offering therapy for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD), women who are experiencing significant anxiety or depression during their pregnancy or after the birth of their babies, I am always left with the question: Could this have been diagnosed earlier and would this result in quicker recovery?

For example, if during pregnancy the OB/GYN had used screening advocated by the American Psychological Association, perhaps the most serious affects of PMAD could be avoided, or at least ameliorated. By adding just two depression-screening questions to the physician’s check-in forms, the medical team and patient could have had a head start in dealing with this potentially debilitating illness.

I have found that if we treat these symptoms during pregnancy, my patient and I are often able to lessen or eliminate symptoms and then have an opportunity to set up a postpartum plan, which can be very effective in decreasing the likelihood of a postpartum depression. Although I can’t guarantee it will prevent the illness in every case, it certainly seems to make a difference.

A recent article confirms my belief. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates one in seven women experience depression during pregnancy or within 12 months of delivery. Hormones, stress, infertility, isolation and previous experiences with depression or anxiety can jumpstart PMAD.

Although many women report a range of mental health issues while pregnant — from suicidal thoughts to unrelenting unhappiness, less than 20 percent report these symptoms to others. Far too often, their medical team, partner, family members, and friends are left in the dark.

“Cultural expectations” that pregnancy and having a child will be the most significant and happy occurrence, leading to a lifetime of bliss, can contribute to feelings of guilt and shame when hopelessness trumps happiness.

And if the pregnancy is unplanned, such as with teen pregnancy or even later in life, this may add another layer of stress and panic.

What I’ve found to be the most effective in helping women navigate depression and severe anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of their child, is to get into treatment early with a mental health professional specializing in perinatal issues.

It is also essential that they have a good support network, by sharing with partners, friends and family, and perhaps participating in a support group. The combination of therapy, supportive relationships, and sometimes medication, will help reduce the severity of symptoms and lead to a better long-term outcome for mother and baby.

 
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