Approximately one in five mothers develops postpartum depression after giving birth. Postpartum depression is a debilitating condition that can have a detrimental effect on the health of a mother and baby. Now New York City is taking steps to help mothers with its New Family Home Visits initiative.
New Family Home Visits Initiative
Chirlaine McCray, the city’s first lady, is behind the city’s effort to address postpartum depression in new mothers. Every first-time parent in New York City will be eligible to receive a total of six in-person visits from mental health professionals. It is unclear whether these visits will change to telehealth in light of COVID-19 concerns. The New Family Home Visits Initiative will begin in Brooklyn later this summer and expand to the rest of the city by 2024. There are similar programs in Chicago and Durham, but New York City’s will be the largest once it ramps up.
The city will team up with community-based organizations to send a community health worker, doula, or nurse with mental health training into people's homes. The program is available to first-time parents regardless of gender or sexual orientation and is also available to adoptive parents. By opening the visits to everyone, the city hopes that it will reduce the stigma and that more parents will participate in the program. In addition, maternal depression screenings are now mandatory at all hospitals, in an effort to identify mothers at risk and get them the help they need.
Not Just Postpartum Depression
The city's effort is part of a nationwide push to help new mothers battling postpartum depression. Becoming a parent is a difficult and overwhelming transition, and help in all aspects of parenting is needed. Other home visiting programs help with children's cognitive development, offer parenting tips and assistance, and focus on maternal mental health. These programs are helpful in reducing child abuse and emergency room visits. While many of these home visit programs are on hold due to COVID-19, there are still programs that provide remote assistance and are available for first-time parents over the phone.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.