An Important Viewpoint from Israel

There is an incredibly important message not to be missed in this article, “Dealing with Postnatal Depression” by Paul Brown, in the Jerusalem Post.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of sentences that might make some folks cranky so I thought I’d put it out there you can bypass any temptation to respond defensively and listen to the VERY IMPORTANT message at large.

This piece does a great job differentiating postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and underscores how often the media gets that wrong.

Don’t be distracted by “between relatively uncomplicated postpartum depression” especially if you’ve had a complicated postpartum depression. I know that reference can make women who struggled feel that their experience is being trivialized. Rather, the author is making the comparison that relative to psychosis, depression is less complicated.

And don’t be offended by “Non-psychiatric professionals, most notably general medical practitioners and social workers, don’t have the professional training, knowledge or skills to differentiate cases at risk.”  Be clear that the author is referring to the Israeli community. Here in the United States, some non-psychiatric professionals actually do have the training, knowledge and skills to differentiate cases at risk. And to be sure, some psychiatric professionals do not.  Just sayin.

It is an excellent article with an excellent message.  Tragedies create a media uproar but rarely lead to enduring professional and society responses.  We can prevent bad outcomes by preventing postpartum depression and we can help that happen with adequate support and intervention services.

The author writes with passion for the subject and clarity in his appeal for better understanding and better services. Love this sentence: “With effective medical management, neither postpartum psychosis nor postpartum depression should have an unhappy outcome.”


One Response to An Important Viewpoint from Israel

  1. Dear Karen,
    I see that we are of a mind! I live in Israel and work in the field of PPD/PMAD (am PSI coordinator here). While most of the content of the article was correct and informative, I agree with your comments, and beyond that I would like to state that we (Gertner Institute and Ministry of Health) have conducted extensive training for primary health care nurses and mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, pediatricians) on the topic of perinatal depression. I sent off the following letter to the Jerusalem Post upon reading the abovementioned article:
    “Dr. Paul Brown’s article on postpartum mental illness was very informative, however I was sorry to see that it was headlined “Dealing with Postnatal Depression,” while the article proceeded to describe the most extreme cases of postpartum psychosis. I believe that the editors who determined the headline did a disservice to your readers. In the article the author even stated that “These are not cases of postnatal depression in the sense in which the term is generally used…The diagnosis of is most likely postpartum psychosis…” While there is increasing awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders among a generally healthy group in the population, and indeed the Ministry of Health has mandated screening for depressive symptoms in Tipot Chalav clinics as of 1.1.2013, headlines such as this can lead women to identify the term ‘postpartum depression’ with the most serious and horrifying consequences of the psychosis, and hesitate do face and deal with the more common (about 10%) phenomenon known as postpartum depression.”

    I am glad to say that the letter was published in the print and digital Letters to the Editor section of the JPost.

    Sincerely, Saralee Glasser

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