Photo: Getty Images
The planning stage has begun on the nation’s – and possibly the world’s – first comprehensive community center to address the entire spectrum of practical and emotional needs of women, infants and families coping with antenatal and postpartum mood disorders.
Imagine a center, a building, an actual location where women could go and fearlessly express all that was in their heart regarding impending birth or postnatal challenges. And also receive every possible service to support their road to recovery. No more endless journeys from facility to agency, hospital to health care provider, OB unit to mental health professional's office.
Imagine a place where stigma does not exist and education has silenced ignorance - where the whole family is welcomed and healed.
Imagine such a center overlooking the sea administered by top psychiatrists, social workers and other mental health and social support professionals, along with staff providing more concrete services such as meal preparation, child care services, transportation, and family services. How about a massage or soothing CD, nutritional counseling and informal chats?
Imagine the possibility of an inpatient stay - if needed - with beds solely occupied by other new mothers who are dealing with the same challenges, while their infants are cared for nearby to reduce/avoid early maternal child separations.
S.P.A.R.K.S. (Serving pre and postnatal women with awareness, relief, knowledge and support) has dared to imagine and begin creating such a center and it’s no pie in the sky wish. This Brooklyn-based organization for women experiencing or recovering from perinatal mood disorders has already been hard at work on many of the critical elements of such a center for the past six years.
They already provide a working confidential hot line, trained community volunteers, groups for social support and therapy, a top notch medical/psychiatric network, educational presentations on prevention, detection and treatment.