We are wrapping up this week’s 3-part series on starting and maintaining postpartum depression support groups. We end with tips from Adrienne Griffen.

Adrienne Griffen, founder of Postpartum Support Virginia

Starting a postpartum depression support group was really hard initially — for the first year, it was only Jyl and me for most sessions. We would ALWAYS stay for an hour, just in case someone showed up, but hardly anyone ever did. It was difficult to stay motivated, but we always covered a lot of business, had brainstorming sessions, and enjoyed each other’s company when no one showed up.

That was five years ago. Since then, our group averages aboutfive mothers each time we meet (twice monthly). Here are some things that have helped:

  1. We have it at a hospital that has a Womens and Infants Health Center, so many of the women have delivered there.
  2. We moved the meeting location to a much more visible and easily accessible location.
  3. The hospital advertises the meeting on its website, in its newsletter that lists all courses and groups, and has distributed information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and the meeting in discharge paperwork. Having the hospital advertise is one of the big reasons why I encourage others to host their meetings at hospitals (besides the fact that they are stroller friendly with ramps, automatic doors, etc.)
  4. The hospital also hosts a new parents group and a breastfeeding support group, all of which meet on Wednesday mornings (the new parents group and the PPD group alternate Wednesdays, followed by the breastfeeding group each week) in the same location. All the support group leaders stay in touch and we refer moms to the different groups based on their needs. For example, often a mom will come to the PPD group and then stay for the breastfeeding group. The synergy has been tremendous.
  5. We have at least two facilitators for the PPD support group, and recently an experienced mom (her children are in college) has joined us in the hopes of eventually starting another support group. Having the support of other leaders is extremely helpful so we can process difficult situations, rely on each other for scheduling relief, etc.

Thanks Adrienne. I hope everyone found this 3-part series helpful.

Don’t forget: If you have a postpartum depression support group that is free and you’d like to list it here at Postpartum Progress, email me at stonecallis@msn.com! I currently list groups from the US and Canada, but welcome info from anywhere!

Photo credit: © Cheryl Casey – Fotolia