Woman’s Hospital plans to open mental health unit for pregnant and postpartum women
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana’s first inpatient mental health unit dedicated only to pregnant and postpartum women is set to open at Woman’s Hospital.
The planned mental health unit will have 10 beds and will allow new mothers time to spend with their newborns, according to hospital officials. They added that allowing women time with their children is a critical step in the healing process.
The CDC reported that anxiety, perinatal and postpartum depression, and birth-related PTSD impact one in every five women. In addition, 75% of women do not get the treatment they need.
“We want to bring an option to our expecting mothers, and mothers postpartum one year to be able to address those issues,” said Rene Ragas, President and CEO of Woman’s Hospital.
The new unit at Woman’s Hospital will also be one of only a few in the country to specialize in the needs of pregnant and postpartum women.
“That’s why it’s a gamechanger. There’s no other offering like this that we know about in the state of Louisiana or in the region,” said Ragas.
Experts believe this new unit is something we desperately need, and it could lead to more women asking for help.
“It is ok for mothers to say I’m struggling with this,” said Artie Varnado, founder and CEO of Conscious Moms.
Varnado and her organization will pay or cover the cost for any mother that wants to get mental health therapy.
She believes the new until will be critical to the area.
“Maternal mental health can be OCD, it can be anxiety, it can be depression, it can be a plethora of different things, and not necessarily that you’re psychotic per say,” said Varnado.
Until the unit is built, she believes we can all play a part to help the women that are struggling in our area.
“I feel like we need to practice more grace, and more compassion towards our moms. They’re trying their best and instead of saying something, help,” said Varnado.
It’s an effort that could save thousands of women.
“We’re not going to sit back. We’re going to be proactive as we always are, and we’re going to be out in front of it and try to bring something to this community and this country that everybody can be proud of,” said Ragas.
Woman’s Hospital officials expect the new mental health unit to open in September of 2024.
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