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Sunday, 07 May 2017 11:22

Maternal wellness program a "Lifeline" for Saskatchewan Women

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Women across Saskatchewan who struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, or feelings of loss following a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a newborn, now have easier access to help.

Marking World Maternal Mental Health Day, May 3, Health Minister Jim Reiter applauded the province-wide expansion of HealthLine 811’s Maternal Wellness Program.

“This program provides timely, easy-to-access, maternal mental health support to women who need it,” Reiter said.  “The program supports a recommendation in the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan to improve access to maternal mental health services.”

Women are referred to the Maternal Wellness Program by public health nurses, who screen them for depression and anxiety at the postnatal visit, and the two and six month Child Health Clinics. Those who are at risk of or experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, or suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a newborn are offered a referral. 

A HealthLine Registered Psychiatric Nurse or Social Worker calls the client at their preferred time to conduct assessments and offer support.

“Our clinicians provide emotional support, coping strategies and information on resources in the community,” HealthLine Director Roberta Wiest said.  “The program is integrated with other areas of the health care system and provides timely access.  We have received positive feedback from clients indicating the program has made a difference for them.”

“This program has been a lifeline,” Maria Moheno-Garcia said.  “I look back to when I first started and where I am now.  What a difference.  I know I will be a better person because of this experience.  We need to get the word out to other women that there is a safe place to talk to someone.”

The Maternal Wellness Program provides support to clients until they can see their primary care provider or a mental health clinician, or when the client shows improvement and support is no longer needed.  The program began as a pilot project in Cypress and Kelsey Trail health regions in 2013, and has since expanded province-wide.

Between March 2016 and March 2017, it served more than 360 clients.

Anyone with a physical or mental health concern can call HealthLine 811 for advice anytime.  The service is available 24/7, free and confidential.

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