Good Samaritan physicians and staff have been following perinatal depression
trends throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With help from the United Way
Lilly Endowment grant funding, Good Samaritan will be able to establish
a postpartum group therapy led by psychiatry residents for women who are
identified with clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety or
PTSD. The group therapy sessions will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual sessions.
“Prior to COVID-19, confirmation of pregnancy was an exciting time
for the majority of women and their families. Baby showers and gender
reveals filled the months prior to birth. Family members visited the hospital
in droves to welcome the newborn, followed by friends and family offering
support the first several weeks at home so mom and baby can get acclimated
to their new normal. However, on March 13, 2020, restrictions due to the
pandemic changed the way families were able to celebrate their pregnancy,”
said Rachel Spalding, Chief Nursing Officer at Good Samaritan. “For
the almost 300 babies born at Good Samaritan since, the experience of
the mother has been very different. Visitor restrictions left delivering
moms with only one support person at delivery, after several prenatal
appointments in which only the patient was allowed.”
The Perinatal Experiences and COVID-19 Effects Study (PEACE) study released
December 1, 2020 by Brigham & Women’s Hospital, found more than
1-in-3 (36.4 percent) of new mothers reported clinically significant levels
of depression. Before the pandemic, rates of perinatal depression were
generally considered to be 15-20 percent. Furthermore, 1-in-5 (22.7 percent)
reported clinically significant levels of generalized anxiety, and 1-in-10
(10.3 percent) reported symptoms above the clinical threshold for PTSD.
The funding received from the United Way will help new moms who are suffering
with postpartum depression and anxiety from being a new parent during
a pandemic. Mothers may opt-in to a curriculum-based group therapy program.
Patients who may need additional support beyond the groups will be identified
and referred to additional mental health treatment.
“We are thankful for the support of the United Way so we can provide
valuable resources to assist our mothers who may face additional challenges
at the beginning stages of motherhood,” said Margaret Suozzi, Good
Samaritan Director of Women’s and Children’s Health. “Having
a support group as a new mother can make a huge difference, especially
during a pandemic when social interaction is limited.”
United Way funding will also be used to continue to provide resources for
mothers and babies such as parenting classes, Cribs for Kids and virtual
infant education for parents and caregivers. It is anticipated that the
programs will service up to 250 newborns and their families.