DC hospital provides intensive treatment – ​​NBC4 Washington

For moms struggling with their mental health, a new program in D.C. is offering a lifeline.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s mother-baby intensive outpatient program is the first of its kind in the region. Patients can get the help they need and take their babies with them.

Here’s how it works and how it’s already gaining support from families who know postpartum depression firsthand.

The heartbreak of a family and the urge to help others

It’s been almost a decade since Fairfax County Officer Shelane Gaydos committed suicide. She was only 35. Two weeks before her death, she suffered a miscarriage because she was pregnant with her fourth child.

“Shelane was my oldest, my firstborn, and she was the light of my life,” her mother, Joanne Bryant, told News4.

Photos show Gaydos’ happiness with her three little girls. But her family had no idea how much she suffered after her miscarriage.

“Because she was also a police officer, I think she kept a lot of that inside. She didn’t want to come across as someone who was weak,” Bryant said.

Gaydos’ family was heartbroken. In the months and years that followed, they worked to turn their pain into purpose, raising money and awareness about postpartum depression, which affects 1 in 5 mothers.

‘Coming into a room with other women who feel the same way’

At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, medical professionals help women get the mental health care they need without having to spend time in the hospital away from their babies.

“For pregnant women and postpartum patients who are very, very stressed (and) very symptomatic, feeling very lonely and isolated and not sure where to turn, we now have a place where they can get treatment,” said program director Dr. Aimee. Danielson.

Patients receive treatment nine hours a week, during which they “learn skills to care for themselves, improve their coping skills, and manage and overcome scary thoughts,” Danielson said.

The Mother-Baby Intensive Outpatient Program includes individual and group therapy, medication management and psychiatry, all under one roof.

Bryant said she knows the work will save lives.

“Just coming together with other women who feel the same way makes such a difference,” she said.

The program can include up to 10 women at a time.

If you are struggling or know someone who is, you can register via the hospital’s website.

After Gaydos’ death in 2015, her family organized an annual event to honor her. They hold Shelane’s Run every October to raise awareness about postpartum depression. Proceeds will go to Postpartum Support Virginia, which provides financial grants to women and families so they can access treatment.

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