Brandy Chalmers, M.A., LPC, NCC and Susan Benjamin Feingold, PsyD, PMH-C
About Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the U.S, with 800,000 American families affected each year with mental health disorders surrounding childbirth. During the childbearing years, women are twice as likely as men to experience a clinical depression, with the postpartum period carrying an elevated risk of a major depressive disorder. Pre-existing mental health problems and stress add to this increased risk.
According to a 2022 study in Journal of Psychiatric Research, “there was a significant increase in postpartum depressive symptoms over the course of the pandemic timeframe.” The pre-pandemic incidence of PMAD is estimated to be 1 in 5 mothers experiencing postpartum depression and or anxiety disorders. These mental health problems can interfere with maternal functionality, infant health, and maternal-infant bonds, as well as the joy every woman wants to experience following the birth of a baby.
Although this debilitating diagnosis can cause havoc in a new mother’s life, the good news is that these conditions are treatable when diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals with perinatal expertise. Approximately 90% of women who have postpartum depression and/or anxiety can be treated successfully with a combination of psychotherapy, peer support, and medication.
About Seven Starling
Seven Starling is an online maternal mental health clinic. We provide comprehensive therapeutic virtual care for PMADS that is accessible, cost-effective, convenient, and effective. Online care models are a powerful treatment option to overcome the treatment barriers that many new mothers face such as mobility, transportation, time constraints, stigma, and childcare concerns.
Our comprehensive approach to treating PMADs includes individual therapy, group therapy with peer support and medication referrals, as needed. In addition to these services, our in-app self-guided exercises and reflections allow patients to engage in self-initiated coping strategies outside of their scheduled sessions.
At Seven Starling, patients receive personalized support from a licensed therapist that specializes in postpartum mental health. Seven Starling therapists have years of experience supporting parents and are trained in the Seven Starling method of combined group and individual therapy.
Delivering culturally-diverse and congruent care is central to our values and priorities as an organization. Our therapist team is as diverse as our patient population - over 50% of our licensed therapists identify as BIPOC.
Who we treat
Seven Starling supports people who are experiencing Anxiety, Depression, or Trauma throughout:
- Fertility challenges
- Pregnancy loss and miscarriage
How patients can get started
Wondering how to sign up or refer a loved one to Seven Starling? Prospective patients can complete a short intake questionnaire and get started with treatment right away. Click here to get started.
Most patients have their first appointment scheduled within 7 days of signing up.
Our Evidence-Based Approach
Research shows that both psychotherapy and other psychosocial interventions are effective in mitigating symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other supportive interventions such as peer support or partner support are deemed highly effective.
The vast majority of research surrounding the efficacy of individual therapy for treatment of PMADs highlights the theoretical orientations that Seven Starling therapists align with including interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. These modalities are found to be evidence-based and best practice for the treatment of PMADs.
A recent study found that the rate of recovery from PMADs through evidence-based therapy (69%) was significantly greater than that of the control group who did not receive therapy (38%) demonstrating the efficacy of individual therapy in treating PMADs. However, time and time again the combination of individual therapy coupled with peer support (ie. group therapy) presents itself in research as a recommendation for the highest standard of care.
At Seven Starling, postpartum patients rotate weekly between individual therapy and group therapy to ensure that they are receiving the highest quality care for positive treatment outcomes.
Group therapy has been found to be an effective modality for treatment of PMADs. Its effectiveness is amplified when coupled with individual therapy. Group therapy can offer increased social support, normalization of experiences, development of interpersonal skills in a group setting that can be translated to outside relationships, and minimization of stigma associated with diagnosis of a PMAD.
Additionally, epidemiological data has consistently identified inadequate social support as a risk factor for developing postpartum depression, raising the possibility of interventions aimed at increasing social support as a treatment option for perinatal depression.
Numerous studies demonstrate that individual therapy and group therapy are equally effective on their own. However, the combination of the two is highlighted as the gold standard for treatment.
With Seven Starling, new mothers are never alone. They are able to share judgment-free, build community, and normalize their experiences in group therapy sessions with other mothers and their licensed therapist.
With increasing evidence showing that psychiatric medication is necessary at times for both pregnant and/or postpartum mothers, its treatment efficacy and use should not be overlooked. Seven Starling offers medication management referrals for patients on an as-needed basis.
It is generally accepted that some patients may require a combination of medication and psychotherapy, that may be more effective than psychotherapy or medication alone for these patients.
Seven Starling offers self-guided tools for patients to utilize between sessions with their licensed therapist. Research shows that the use of supplementary self-guided coping strategies and tools for women with a PMAD can support positive health outcomes.
New mothers can expect to find an array of self-guided tools in the Seven Starling app, ranging from exercises to build positive affirmations for oneself to diving into their own personal gratitude journal with built-in prompts. Additionally, an array of resources are available related to other topics like managing uncertainty and mindfulness exercises to promote relaxation.
Our Commitment to High Clinical Quality
Seven Starling is committed to delivering evidenced-based care and maintaining high standards of integrity and clinical quality. Using treatment techniques that are supported by research and evidence is crucial to the company, for we strive to provide treatment for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that is backed by the highest clinical standards.
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