03/12/08 — Group will offer help for new mothers battling depression

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Group will offer help for new mothers battling depression

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 12, 2008 2:00 PM

Melissa Harrell of the Goldsboro Counseling Center knows what it is like to deal with postpartum depression.

A mother of three herself, she, too, has battled with the mixed emotions that go along with the birth of a child for sufferers of the illness.

She found help to get her through -- and now she wants to help others.

A local postpartum support group is being formed to make mothers aware of resources available to them.

HEARTS for Mom, which stands for Helping Engage Area Resources Together, will meet once a month. While it targets mothers, pregnant women are also welcome, she said.

"Some women experience perinatal depression during pregnancy," she explained. On the other end of the spectrum, she added, "We have had some call and ask how old their children have to be. Postpartum depression can hit any time.

"We say, 'If you're experiencing stress at any point, come on.'"

The group will be geared to a variety of subjects related to postpartum depression, including stress and anxiety. The important thing, Ms. Harrell notes, is to steer clear of any stigmas and focus more on hope.

"We're letting moms know we're wrapping the community around you, trying to tap into all our community resources," she said.

The support group was developed by a task force, Ms. Harrell said. It elicited support from a variety of health care professionals, including labor and delivery staff at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro Pediatrics and ob-gyns.

The group is also affiliated with Post Partum Support International, which provides a "wealth of information" on its Web site, www.psi.org, Ms. Harrell said.

While designed to meet the fourth Monday of each month, due to Easter the first meeting will be on March 31 at 6 p.m. in the well infant waiting area of Goldsboro Pediatrics.

It will be an open group, Ms. Harrell said, meaning that members can join at any time and attend at their comfort level. Confidentiality is also a must.

It will be led by professional counselors and child care will be provided, she added.

For more information, call 778-5598, ext. 310.