Mid-South foundation offers mental health services for new moms, moms-to-be

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The coronavirus pandemic has led to an uptick of mental health services for moms-to-be and new mothers, who are dealing with the stress of taking care of a newborn and staying healthy during the pandemic.

Newborn babies bring a lot of joy to the household, but for some new mothers and moms-to-be, perinatal and postpartum depression overshadows that joy. Experts say it’s happening more during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mid-south COVID Regional Response Fund is there to help new mothers through Apple Seeds, Inc., a foundation started by Tenikki Sesley to educate and support young mothers with depression or those struggling to bond with their babies.

“Mom’s hormone levels are always changing,” Sesley said. “Her inability to get the rest that she needs, the sleep deprivation, excessive baby crying and add all of that song with being in this pandemic, yes, there is increased worry. There’s increased anxiety and the social isolation does not help at all.”

Apple Seeds offers one-on-one counseling and support groups. The agency got a $15,000 grant to provide free services to anyone who needs it during the pandemic.

“You must reach out. You must get the help you need,” Sesley said. “We know that one in seven women will experience postpartum depression and only 15% of this women get treated. So that leaves about 500,000 to 750,000 women untreated per year.”

Referrals from professional health care providers have already started to come in, but Sesley wants families and friends to know they too can help when they see a struggling young mother.

“Some signs would be excessive crying, mom feeling anxious. more irritable than normal,” Sesley said. “Especially if she says something about hurting herself or the baby.”

You can contact them at appleseedsmemphis @gmail.com. During the pandemic, all counseling is done through telehealth or other virtual platforms like Zoom.

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