Maternal and Child Mental Health

UW Medicine is committed to creating a world where every parent and child experiences warm, intimate and continuous healthy relationships. From neuroscientists who are unlocking the mysteries of infant brain development to clinicians who deliver innovative treatment, we are uniquely positioned to dramatically improve the health of mothers and their families in Washington and beyond. Investing in maternal and child mental health improves the mental and physical health of parents and children and is one of the best ways to lessen the occurrence of mental health conditions in future generations. Our interdisciplinary and collaborative work promotes parental mental health, child development and joyful parent-child interactions.

Our ongoing work in maternal and child mental health focuses on making high intergenerational impact with relatively small improvements in care. Current projects include:

MHIP (Mental Health Integration Program) for High Risk Moms
An established program that provides patient-centered treatment to low income mothers with depression and other common mental health disorders. Over 2,500 moms have received help since 2008, with more than half showing significant improvement in depression. Funded with donor support.

Depression Care for NICU Parents
An evaluation of what programs or interventions would be most helpful to mothers whose babies are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or have recently been brought home. Funded with donor support.

Perinatal Psychiatry Consultation Line
A consultation service offered to any health care provider in Washington State caring for women with mental health needs during and after pregnancy. Staffed by experts in maternal mental health. Funded with donor support.

Depression Treatment in Rural Areas
A feasibility study to test if text messaging, videoconferencing, and other adaptations of Collaborative Care can improve depression care for women in rural health care settings. Pilot testing is taking place in an OB-GYN clinic in Yakima, Washington.

Reducing the Effect of Maternal Depression
A home visiting parenting program combined with effective depression treatment hopes to counter the pernicious effects of mothers’ depression on infant development. Participants are English and Spanish-speaking low income mothers.