Maternal Mental Health Updates: 
Mental Health: The Core of Well-Being.  
Fall 2017
FSU College of Medicine,
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine
Fall 2017 Edition
Special Interest Articles:
  • Maternal Mental Health Advocacy Day
  • Mothers' Mental Health Toolkit Launched
  • Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative
  • Research and Outreach
  • Maternal Mental Health Community Advisory Board - Leon County
  • Upcoming Events
ActNow is a FSU-community partnered program that is focused on better screening, detection, and treatment of depression around pregnancy.  The overall goal of this work is to provide information on implementation of feasible, patient-centered interventions to improve perinatal depression treatment, engagement, and outcomes in the obstetrics setting.
Rally in Tally!
Join advocates and survivors from throughout Florida on January 29, 2018 in Tallahassee.  Perinatal mental health matters and deserves dedicated support and attention.  RSVP Today!
Mothers' Mental Health Toolkit - Click Here

Online Mental Health Toolkit Launched!!!

Perinatal Depression, or clinical depression around the time of pregnancy, affects up to 1 in 5 women, making it one of the most common complications of pregnancy. Unfortunately, a large portion of affected women never receive treatment.  Depression is a remarkably common problem for women all over the world but few people know how to recognize or address it.

To address this, the FSU College of Medicine and Leon County’s Maternal Mental Health Community Advisory Board recently launched the Mothers’ Mental Health online toolkit.  This website serves to provide information and resources to those seeking to help women receive the best care possible including health care providers, community agencies, friends and family, and not least of all, women who are seeking answers and tools to help themselves.

Perinatal depression is treatable. No one should suffer. Let’s help to make sure that women are receiving the care that they need. Please visit the online toolkit at

Join the Collaborative Today! - Click Here
Perinatal mental illness is the #1 health complication related to pregnancy and after delivery (postpartum). Approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience a mental health complication during this time.

The Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative (FlMMHC) was birthed in the summer of 2016 through the combined efforts of Dr. Heather Flynn, Dr. Kai LeMasson and Lauren DePaola, LCSW.  These women spearheaded the efforts to bring together statewide partners to close the critical gaps in perinatal mental health education, policy, prevention, treatment, and outcomes for women and their families. 

The Collaborative's vision is to ensure every woman in Florida and her family receives the help and support they need for optimal mental health and well-being.
The Collaborative hit the ground running.  Since inception, the Collaborative has created a Steering Committee, hosted a conference, built a website, provided guidance on the drafting of the Florida Families First Act, and has been instrumental in the creation of an awareness campaign. 

The Steering Committee consists of leaders of organizations (both public and private), representatives from various professions related to perinatal health, advocates and survivors.  The committee established work groups and convenes regularly to develop goals.  The Collaborative hosted the well-attended 2nd Annual Perinatal Mental Health Conference on April 8, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Please save the date for the 3rd Annual Perinatal Mental Health Conference on August 24-25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.  Stay tuned for upcoming information about the 2018 Conference.
The Collaborative also designed and launched the Florida Moms Matter website and Facebook page. The website will serve as a clearinghouse of resources in the state and will provide education and support for families and providers.  Please visit the website at
Florida Moms Matter Website - Click Here
The Collaborative also partnered with Sachs Media to create an awareness campaign.  Sachs Media created a tremendous campaign filled with passion!  Women from around the state were able to speak with Sachs Media to share their personal stories. We hope that it spreads far and wide with a specific goal to educate lawmakers about the proposed 2018 legislation, SB 138, Florida Families First Act, introduced by Senator Lauren Book in August 2017.  The Bill’s focus is on perinatal mental health.  The campaign materials include a toolkit containing social media suggested posts, education about the legislative process, suggestions on contacting Florida representatives and information to send to local news outlets.
The Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative invites you to partner to support women’s mental health and strengthen families.  Our hope is to reach partners in each community in Florida.  The value of joining as a partner means:
•Opportunity to inform and advise with input as a member of one of our Work Groups (research, policy, awareness, and clinical service)
•Network with other colleagues
•Notify others of things happening across the state for perinatal mental health
•Opportunities to highlight what you or your organization does in working towards perinatal mental health
•Help gain momentum for awareness, education/training, research and policy
Join the Collaborative Today! - Click Here
Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative - Steering Committee Members
Lauren DePaola, LCSW, Owner/Therapist/Consultant, Postpartum Wellness & Family Counseling
Heather Flynn, PhD, Florida State University College of Medicine and Center for Behavioral Health Integration
*Steering Committee*
Carol Brady, Florida Association for Healthy Start Coalitions/Florida Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative
Sarah Workman Checcone, Esq., Postpartum Society of Florida
Elicia Coley, Agency for Health Care Administration (Quality Bureau)
Isadora Delvecchio, March of Dimes
Ute Gazioch, Florida Department of Children and Families
Mimi Graham, EdD, Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy
Karen Harris, MD, ACOG District XII Chair
Mary Beth Jones, Agency for Health Care Administration (Quality Bureau)
Brian Kirk, March of Dimes
Alma Littles, MD, Florida State University, College of Medicine and Florida Medical Association
Dixie Morgese, Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties, Inc.
Jennifer Moyer, Advocate
D. Jeffrey Newport, MD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Celeste Philip, MD, Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health
Sharon Ross-Donaldson, LCSW, The Center for Health Equity, Inc.
Kay Roussos-Ross, MD, University of Florida
Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, founder of Stop Parenting Alone
Tommy Schechtman, MD, MSPH, Past President Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Kelly Sciba, Executive Director Florida Commission on the Status of Women
Leisa Stanley, PhD, Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County
Fatimah Tahil, MD, MPH, Amerigroup Florida
Erica Floyd Thomas, Agency for Health Care Administration
Maureen Whelihan, MD, ACOG District XII State Legislative Chair and Section 5 Chair
Stan Whittaker, MSN, Chairman of Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners
Melanie Brown Woofter, Interim President/CEO, Florida Council for Community Mental Health
Join the Collaborative Today! - Click Here
In the News!
The City of Tallahassee and Leon County Proclaimed the Second Week in May as Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week.
Photo:  Mayor Andrew Gillum, Dr. Heather Flynn, and Commissioner Curtis Richardson
The City of Tallahassee and Leon County proclaimed the second week in May as Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week.  To kick off the week, a neighborhood dinner was held in partnership with the Maternal Child Health Equity Collaborative.  It was a family style dinner for neighbors and the conversation focused on women’s mental health.  The week also included a local media blitz to bring attention to mental health. 

A special thank you to the AM Break with Ann and Audra for featuring Dr. Andrea Friall and Dr. Heather Flynn during the week.  The Tallahassee Democrat also featured Christina Herdt's personal and powerful story detailing her journey with motherhood.  Dr. Susan Liipfert Shelton wrote an article highlighting the importance of social support systems titled Reach Out: Moms Need a Village and Dr. Flynn also included an article in the Tallahassee Democrat.  Thank you to all for shining a light on mental illness and for promoting the week!
Research and Outreach

Center for Behavioral Health Integration

The FSU CBHI, formerly named the Center for Integrated Health Care, was established to facilitate and guide the integration of behavioral and mental health with primary care and community services in Florida.  Dr. Patricia Babcock and Dr. Heather Flynn co-direct the Center.  The Center facilitates research, strategic planning, services, and education for key stakeholders in Florida.  The Center also aims to enhance Florida’s capacity to train clinicians in diagnosing and treating mental and behavioral health disorders and managing care for individuals with multiple chronic illnesses.
Center for Behavioral Health Integration Partners
Florida Council for Community Mental Health
FSU College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology
FSU College of Business
FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice
FSU College of Nursing
FSU College of Social Work
Florida Institute for Child Welfare, at the FSU College of Social Work
National Alliance on Mental Health,
NAMI Tallahassee, Inc.

PSI Coordinators

We are thrilled to introduce Tallahassee’s Postpartum Support International (PSI) coordinators: Amy Kimmel, Susan Liipfert Shelton, and Catherine Munroe. We would like to extend a special thank you to Pat Stephens and NAMI-Tallahassee for coordinating and funding these efforts.  The coordinators offer mothers social support, information, and resources that will aid them in their recovery from mental health distress during pregnancy and postpartum.

PSI Support Coordinator, Amy Kimmel, set up a closed group on Facebook, Postpartum Wellness Tallahassee, which has taken off since launching last year. Postpartum Wellness Tallahassee's goal is to support mothers impacted by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).  Additional information is located at
PSI Coordinators

Amy Kimmel, (850) 491-5807
Susan Liipfert Shelton, PhD, CNM, (850) 583-6814
Catherine Munroe,

Mental Health Resource Guide

FSU College of Medicine launched an online Mental Health Resource Guide for Leon County in 2015.  The traffic to the website continues to grow; in the last year there have been 3,400 pageviews. This guide allows the community to have instant access to a searchable list of mental health providers.  The guide is located at
Mental Health Resource Guide - Click Here

National Network of Depression Centers

Florida State University College of Medicine has joined a powerful national alliance built to accelerate progress in the fight against mental health disorders. The College’s efforts to expand expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and scientific discovery in depression and bipolar illness has been recognized with an invitation to become an associate member in the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC).  The NNDC’s mission is to develop and foster connections among members to use the power of a network to advance scientific discovery and to provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients.

Child Welfare Project

The FSU College of Medicine and the College of Social Work are collaborating on the Enhancing Parental Behavioral Health Services Integration in Child Welfare project.  The aim is to pilot approaches to fill identified gaps in the need for integration of behavioral health interventions in child welfare-involved adult caregivers.  The project is approaching its second year.
Maternal Mental Health Community Advisory Board - Leon County
Tallahassee’s Maternal Mental Health Community Advisory Board (MMHCAB), established in the summer of 2014, continues to meet regularly. The MMHCAB members join together to facilitate community collaboration and to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas, information, and resources to help with the identification and treatment of depression in women by linking them to quality services and treatment while supporting research that leads to community awareness, education, action, and outcomes. The Board has hosted three open community meetings including the Provider Networking meeting and the screening of the documentary Dark Side of the Full Moon. The Board is currently working with smaller work groups focused specifically on clinical/service issues, research ideas, policies, and outreach/education. The Board has been instrumental in various ways including the creation of the online Mothers' Mental Health toolkit, the Resource Guide and a fact sheet for patients.
Maternal Mental Community Advisory Board Members
Courtney Atkins – Whole Child Leon     
Dr. Janet Bard-Hanson  211 Big Bend    
Jennifer Beaupied – Tallahassee Primary Care Associates    
Claudia Blackburn – Florida Department of Health Leon County & FSU COM
Dr. Joedrecka Brown – FSU COM     
Marie Bryant – Vice President, South City Neighborhood Association/ Whole Child Leon
Kyle Crews – Health Information Exchange Networks    
Megan Deichen – MSW, Doctoral Student     
Sandy Glazer – Capital Area Healthy Start    
Bill Hambsh – North Florida Women’s Care    
Amy Kimmel – Doula & Patient Representative    
Holly Kirsch – Florida Department of Health Leon County  
Kelli Mercer - Capital Regional Medical Center    
Catherine Munroe – Patient Advocate & Apalachee Center   
Dr. Jay Reeve – Apalachee Center     
Sharon Ross – Donaldson – The Center for Health Equity 
Erin Ryals – North Florida Women’s Care    
Dr. Karla Schmitt – FSU CON     
Dr. Susan Shelton – FSU CON, PSI Coordinator   
Pat Stephens – National Alliance on Mental Illness, Tallahassee  
Connie Styons – Tallahassee Memorial Women’s Pavilion
Upcoming Events
FSU College of Medicine
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine

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1115 West Call Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32306
Phone: (850) 645-3457

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