May 2022: Mental Wellness

(Content warning: Depression, Anxiety, Bereavement)

The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community." Mental health is essential in our everyday lives, especially for pregnant individuals and parents through the first year after birth. Pregnancy and parenting can bring about stress with many new challenges, lessons, and changes. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and Postpartum Depression is common. According to the Postpartum Support International Fact Sheet, " without appropriate intervention, poor maternal mental health can have long term and adverse implications for mother, child, and family." You can get help with the proper support, including providers, tools, resources, and skills! This post will discuss mental health care providers on the Central Coast, what they do, how to find them, key findings, and when to seek help from professionals.

Let's discuss the most common types of mental health and wellness professionals in the perinatal and postpartum period.

Many types of providers in our county can help improve mental wellness. Still, the most common include Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFTs), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Psychologists, and those with a PMH-C (Perinatal Mental Health Certification). These providers help give support and resources and foster mental wellness, but it is important to understand their specialties, backgrounds, and perspectives.

A licensed marriage family therapist (LMFT) is a mental health provider who works with individuals, families, and couples to diagnose and treat them through family system relationships.

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) is a mental health provider who views the environmental and social aspects when counseling, evaluating, treating, and managing various mental, social, or medical concerns. They often work with other providers in the client's life to assist clients in overcoming these obstacles.

Psychologists are mental health professionals with training to help people cope with mental health disorders and life challenges. They can test and assess, diagnose, and manage illnesses.

Those who have the PMH-C (Perinatal Mental Health Certification) are often mental health providers, prescribers, and complementary birth and wellness providers who get a special certification to work with families and individuals with perinatal mental disorders. They have more expertise and training to educate and evaluate clients struggling with this. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, lactation consultants, nurses, doulas, and other professionals who work with this population choose to get this specialty training. It can be helpful to look for a provider who has this certification when seeking treatment.

Another helpful resource is support groups. Support groups can differ between group therapy, peers, and those who have had similar experiences to you in the past.

Now that we've covered some important mental wellness providers let's see where we can find them!

In general, when seeking these mental wellness professionals, you can find them in private practice, educational institutions, health care organizations, hospitals, mental health facilities, non-profits, community-based organizations, medical clinics, and virtually.

If you are looking for someone from the Central Coast community, there are many places to find support:

Additional resources include: