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FEATURED PSI MEMBER: Heather Anne Swensen Motta
PSI Volunteer: Climb Out of the Darkness Brazil Team Leader, Brazil Coordinator

Click here for the full interview on our blog

Tell us about yourself outside of your volunteering.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, a second generation Alaskan, the oldest of five, with a large extended family, which gathered often over tacos, fishing stories, and my grandma’s peanut butter fudge. I earned a B.S. in Fish & Wildlife Biology from Montana State University eons ago, which I rarely use other than to fish, bird, and be wild with my boys. I’m currently a stay-at-home mother, living in the very south of Brazil on a federal Ecological Station with my husband, a Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer, and our two rambunctious but happy boys, 13 and 10. My favorite self-care hobbies include digging in my garden, yoga exercise and readings, and getting outside as much as possible. Continued here on the PSI blog

This is the second in a series of interviews of featured members of PSI. If you know of a PSI member you think we should feature, contact membership@postpartum.net.


We are thrilled to announce that PSI launched a new Public Service Campaign for Perinatal Mental Health Awareness in August. Planet Grande Pictures, a multi-Emmy Award winning production company, created the content for the PSAs in collaboration with PSI. The PSAs cover many aspects of these illnesses and the cultural stigma people experience while looking for help. Check out the vimeo album here to view the 7 videos. The campaign candidly tells the stories of real life survivors of postpartum illnesses, blended with healthcare providers who are experts in providing treatment. We released two videos throughout August on the PSI facebook and twitter pages. Check them out, comment to let us know what you think, and share widely! The videos have stimulated compelling comments and new requests for help to PSI. Thank you to Planet Grande and all of the video subjects!

         and more...



31st Annual Postpartum Support International Conference July 11-15, 2018
by Wendy Davis, Executive Director

“Great conference this year. It feels really different here!”

I heard this comment over and over at the Houston conference. I heard it from newcomers, from members who have attended many conferences, and from those who have been away and returned. (Welcome back!) I heard it from exhibitors --  “Y’all are different here, the people are so passionate and interesting, and they stop to see what we’re actually doing.”

I agreed. It IS a unique kind of conference, and it also felt different even for those of us who attend yearly. We’re not just talking about the Houston humidity or the unusual amount of chicken at meals. We’re talking about a substantial difference in feeling and quality. What was it?

Professional diversity. Our meetings draw from many professions who help pregnant, postpartum, and post-loss families -- including clinicians, social support advocates, childbirth professionals, public health and policy-makers, early childhood professionals, families, survivors, and others. We get to learn alongside a broad and informative group of attendees, and it enhances our learning and professional competency. The diverse breakouts and keynotes met with great reviews, and the longer Sunday seminars were highly valued by conference attendees. Please write to us for conference suggestions for next year, and don’t hesitate to send in a proposal yourself.

Conference Management. This is the third year we had a conference event management firm, and our second with Parthenon Management Group. Their ability to help us select proposals, communicate with presenters and attendees, organize CEs, and their onsite ability to troubleshoot, respond to requests, and anticipate our needs is invaluable. They help keep the PSI staff and board sane and relatively rested throughout the event, making a big difference in our ability to be present and responsive to attendees, and to remain calm and in touch with our best selves even when things are not going perfectly. I am so grateful that we found a firm who can provide such expert event management while still maintaining the personal-professional touch that is so important to PSI.

Cultural Diversity and Awareness. And this is what really made it new even for those of us who have attended many conferences. Our efforts to improve and manifest our commitment to increase the cultural and racial diversity of our organization and conference came to light. We worked hard in the last several years to improve conference involvement and accessibility to providers of color, to view proposals with a culturally-informed lens, and to solicit and increase presentations that addressed cultural competency, health disparities, the impact of racism, multi-generational trauma, and  microaggressions. We will continue to attend to this commitment. But this year, we had an added benefit that changed the face of the conference. This year, we created a new fund to bring providers of color to the conference. This scholarship fund came from the PSI Perinatal Action Fund, established by a grant at the closing of Postpartum Progress and supplemented by funds from the PSI Climb out of the Darkness. Under the coordination of board member Tiffany Ross, chair of the Community Engagement Committee, we created a scholarship fund to provide conference registration and partial travel voucher to 53 providers of color -- mental health providers, doulas, childbirth educators, home visitors, military social workers, nurses, and students.  We received so many emails and thank-you’s from the recipients of the funds, but I wondered through the days I was in Houston -- Do the attendees who received the scholarship realize that it is the conference, and PSI itself that is blessed by their involvement? I have learned in the last few years that it is not enough to say we honor diversity and inclusion -- we must find ways to correct inequity and to create opportunities for participation and shared learning. We are doing better, and we are committed to continue to improve. We extend a huge thanks to the Perinatal Alliance for Women of Color https://www.pmhawoc.org/ for being part of our conference and organizational planning, and making such a big difference to PSI.

Awareness of Mistakes. Just like an individual, as our organization develops, it is easier to be reflective, admit mistakes, and seek to improve with input from others. We have learned much from PSI members and conference attendees over the years about how to improve the conference, and I am happy that we have been able to implement significant changes based on feedback. The conference committee takes attendees’ feedback seriously, and you’ll see that reflected every year. This year, I am especially grateful that we not only experienced the most racially diverse conference in our PSI history, but that when there were macro or micro aggressions in a group setting, we saw it, we painfully learned from the mistakenness of it, and we addressed it. I know we can never say we did so perfectly, and we don’t always do it publicly, but we will stand up and address these mistakes so that we continue to create a safer and more equitable environment where we can all learn and participate.

Contact us! Please write to us for keynote and breakout conference suggestions for next year, and don’t hesitate to send in a proposal yourself. Write to wdavis@postpartum.net

Wondering about the new Perinatal Mental Health Certification?
Here are some FAQs, and link to more information.

Q: I’ve heard there are special tracks for certification. Can you tell me more?
A: Yes, you can get a Perinatal Mental Health Certification in one of three specialties: Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology, or Affiliated Professionals. There is a unified exam for all, but the educational prerequisites must be completed in your specialty.

Q: What are the educational requirements to sit for the certification exam?
A: Educational requirements are:

  • Psychotherapy specialty: Graduate degree
  • Psychiatric specialty: Medical Degree/Advanced Practice Nursing Degree
  • Affiliated professionals: Professional credential

Q: What are the training prerequisites to sit for the exam?
A: Completion of evidence-based perinatal mental health certificate training:

  • Minimum 14 hours PMD certificate training
  • Additional 6 hours advanced training in your speciality (psychotherapy, psychopharm, or affiliated).
  • Contact certification@postpartum.net for more information, or to submit alternate course for approval.

Q: What are the practice requirements to sit for the exam?
A: You must have at least 2 years' work experience relevant to the field of perinatal mental health. You must have provided services relevant to your specialty area: e.g., psychological services for psychotherapy; psychiatric prescribing for psychopharmacology; practice-based work that directly involves perinatal mental health for affiliated professions.

Q: How do I register to take the test?

A: You must first fill out the pre-exam registration form, so we can enter all potential testing candidates in our system and determine eligibility. This is important for both current PSI members and non-members. To get started, please take a few moments to complete the following form: http://bit.ly/PSIPerinatalCertification

Q: Where and when can I take the Certification exam?
A: After you are registered, you choose the time and place. The exam is available at Pearson Vue testing centers, available in cities around the world. FIND A TEST CENTER HERE: https://home.pearsonvue.com/psi  

For more information and FAQs, visit http://www.postpartum.net/professionals/certification/certification-faqs/


The 2-day PSI Certificate of Completion Course, taught by experienced and engaging faculty, is a thorough and evidence-based curriculum designed for nurses, physicians, social workers, mental health providers, childbirth professionals, social support providers, or anyone interested in learning skills and knowledge for assessment and treatment of perinatal mood disorders. Registration includes training binder, handouts, breakfast and lunch, and continuing education credits. Approved for 14.5 CMEs, CNEs, CEs. Write to training@postpartum.net for more information. Details are online here.

Upcoming PMD Certificate Trainings

September 20-21, 2018, Muncie, Indiana
September 27-28, 2018, Charlotte, North Carolina *
October 4-5, 2018, Grand Rapids, Michigan
October 25-26, 2018, Evanston, Illinois *

November 1-2, 2018, Madison, Wisconsin
November 15-16, 2018, Ft. Lee, New Jersey *

December 6-7, 2018, Oroville, California
March 28-29, 2019, Champaign, Illinois *

April 4-5, 2019, Anchorage Alaska

* Day 3 - Advanced Psychotherapy Trainings

CLIMB OUT OF THE DARKNESS Community-Walks and Fundraisers 2018



$188,000! That’s right – The current Climb out of the Darkness 2018 total raised is 188K, through 121 teams around the world!  In our second year, Climb events raised money for 30 community projects, 20 PSI state chapters, and the rest directly to PSI and the Perinatal Action Fund, reserving money to support underserved and marginalized communities. We are extremely grateful and proud of all the Climb participants. Join us again, or for the first time, in 2019! You can start small, you can have a “couch climb”, you can just create a team of your own and invite your friends to donate. Our Climb out of the Darkness is designed for greatest ease and accessibility, and committed to sending funds back to approved local perinatal mental health projects. Thank you to Climb Manager Emily Jankowski Newton, volunteer extraordinaire Heather Anne Swensen Motta, and all the amazing a creative Climb leaders, teams, and chapters.  For more information, please go to http://www.postpartum.net/join-us/climbout/ or contact Emily at cotd@postpartum.net


New PSI Member Directory:  We have been reaching out to members to let you know that the new Member Directory is ready. Please add/update your bio and contact information so that other PSI members can learn about you. The Member Directory is a networking tool for active PSI members to connect with each other. Some members use it to help them look for providers in other geographic areas or other specialties to potentially connect their clients to; other members use it to find peers in their area. The new Member Directory is accessed through the new online portal, which also helps connect you to discounts on trainings and other member benefits. If you need assistance establishing your login, or have other membership questions, reach out to Edith at membership@postpartum.net.

Not a current PSI member? Additional member benefits include access to our online groups including the new PSI Care Providers virtual consultation group (a monthly, facilitated group that meets via video conferencing), and discounts on trainings and educational materials. Click here to find out more about joining the PSI member community.

psioffice@postpartum.net | postpartum.net | 503-894-9453

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