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Get Assistance, Give Back: Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM)

Sep 26, 2016 11:16AM ● Published by Wendy Erlien

“During my first pregnancy, I began to experience a lot of worry. I worried about being a good mother, I worried about something being wrong with my baby, I worried about whether I would survive labor and delivery. Pregnancy was hard for me, although it was a smooth pregnancy, I did not enjoy it,” said Lisa Cross, a Maple Grove resident of 12 years.  “I felt like anytime I told someone that I didn’t enjoy it, I was shamed for saying that.”

For Cross, a licensed marriage and family therapist, her journey didn’t end with the birth of her child. Eventually, she was diagnosed and began recovery from Postpartum OCD.

It was during her own recovery in 2007 when the Maple Grove resident became involved with the local chapter of the nonprofit organization Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM). The organization provides services to those who are struggling with a postpartum or pregnancy mood disorder through their helpline, training, resources and information on their website. The nonprofit organization consists of mental health and perinatal practitioners, service organizations, and volunteers.  Today, PPSM is co-directed by Lisa Cross and Crystal Clancy.

“We are very connected to our community,” Cross said of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota. “We follow up with those who call our helpline to make sure that their needs are met.”  

For woman or family members looking for assistance, calling, emailing or texting the Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM) helpline “is a great place to start,” according to Cross.

“Many women are not quite ready for treatment when they feel the need to reach out, so the helpline offers a gentle way to gather more information prior to determining what course of action a mom or dad is ready for,” Cross said. In 2015, nearly 100 people contacted the helpline.

Through the helpline, several options are available to connect women and/or their families with a licensed therapist, assist in searching for a provider, information about how to talk to obstetrician about symptoms, and how to find community resources.  A peer support line is an option as well consisting of mothers and fathers whom have recovered from a perinatal mental health concern and volunteer their time to support others.

How to Receive Help at PPSM

Individuals with a mental health emergency are encouraged to call 911, go to the nearest emergency room and/or contact their healthcare provider.

“Many of our members feel that we provide a voice for them. We get great feedback that we have helped women to have a more organic conversation with their provider about PMADs [perinatal mood and anxiety disorders],” Cross said.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota not only provides services for families who struggle with PMAD, but also does advocacy work in Minnesota for appropriate trainings of providers.

“Our greatest feedback is that moms feel that we truly care about their well-being and that they finally find someone who can ‘get it’ and ‘relate’ to what they are experiencing,” Cross said.

How to Get Involved

  • Donate: ppsupportmn.org
  • Volunteer: Katy Johncox (ppsmvolunteers@gmail.com)

“We are always in need of more volunteers, especially people who have a specific skill that might be useful for our organization. We spend a great deal of time providing training, advocacy and awareness to the community,” Cross said, adding they are also looking for volunteers who have marketing and social media expertise.

“We are a compassionate organization who believes that every family deserves to have a mother and father who are emotionally well,” Cross said. 

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